We help asylum-seekers and refugees survive and recover from forced displacement in Lille, France.
We encourage supportive relationships between refugees, local church members and community groups. We connect with like-minded groups in the region and we raise awareness. We offer activities to build resilience and strengthen faith. We reflect together with refugees on their experiences, life goals and decisions as they prepare for the next stage of their journey. In cooperation with church communities, we provide a safe place for holistic awareness, inner healing and peace.
“We want a community that offers hope and strength for the soul.” -Paul Sydnor, Lille Ministry Leader
Asylum seekers come to Northern France often in route to Great Britain. Those in Lille, have usually made a decision to stay and the application process for asylum can last several years.
Many of them are from French speaking countries. Most have already been in Paris and Calais or passed through other parts of Europe. They have few options in this difficult stretch of their journey when it comes to finding adequate food and shelter or other essentials of life.
Across the region and even in Lille, many of these men, women and children are forced to sleep in the rough and on the streets. France takes a hard-line approach in its immigration policy and offers very little infra-structure to provide for the needs of asylum seekers. This increases the vulnerability of people and diverts attention away from the needs related to personal and spiritual well-being.
“I have been unsettled throughout Europe for five years. The conditions in France are some of the worst that I have experienced.” –Asylum seeker from Cameroun
The Lille ministry centre focuses on the recovery needs of refugees. Based in a local church, we offer language courses, computer access and informal meetings.
The centre gives a place to build community and strengthen faith. It provides a welcoming space for refugees, volunteers and teammates to meet, encourage and serve one another.
Donations to the Refugee Centre (France) project are used to cover rent, resources and supplies.
Listen to how a week long youth camp impacted the life of Chris, a refugee from Congo.
The camp brought refugee and French youth together. As they reflected on the story of Joseph in the Bible, Chris says he could see his story in Joseph's story.
"Would you like to do it again?"
"Yes, of course! It was fantastic!"
Duration: 2 minutes
All photos on this website by IAFR.