The objective of our Tandems is to create individualized relationships between asylum seekers or refugees and Luxembourgish residents.
Our goal is double:
- for refugees and asylum seekers, “normal” interactions like this (by opposition to their interactions with institutional stakeholders) allow them to get immersed into our culture by presenting them with an embodied vision of Luxembourg. We think that Culture, largo sensu, is a complex and multi-layered thing .
- for residents, getting to know an asylum seeker or a refugee helps make the issue of asylum more concrete. Rubbing shoulders with asylum seekers or refugees breaks bias and prejudices and leads one to readjust how one sees the other.
When residents or refugees apply for a Tandem, we start with an interview during the course of which we explore the principles and goals underlying our Tandems. To our volunteers, we also explain the different steps that make up the asylum procedure and provide some concrete data on the living conditions of asylum seekers and refugees. Once the Tandem is formed, the two partners will meet regularly and work towards achieving the goal they have defined for themselves (language-related for instance). Of course, there’s no obligation for results!
So far, Tandems have been very diverse; some real friendships bloomed. The expectations of asylum seekers vary widely depending on the progress of their application and/or the amount of time they have already spent in Luxembourg. Tandems are an actual integration tool since being able to ask a resident about their everyday life or their opinion on any subject is an open window on the life in Luxembourg.
Tandems are an opportunity to raise awareness on the situation and living conditions of asylum seekers. The briefing sessions have been useful and volunteers took advantage of them.