Belgium: Aid to survial
The “Amphora” project in the town of Molenbeek near Brussels, where there is also a Henkel Benelux site, endeavors to reintegrate people on the margins of society.
A so-called Social Shop provides the focal point for the project. “People come here who really have nowhere else to go. Usually they are unemployed, have run into enormous debt and are sent to us by Social Services or the Debt Advisory Service,” explains Sabine Fronville, Amphora’s coordinator. “They get a small weekly credit from the state. The first thing they have to learn is how to budget in order to make the credit last. From us they are able to purchase food and products for their daily needs at prices between 20 and 30 percent lower than in the supermarket. This enables them to gradually reduce their debts and relaunch their lives.”
Each year, Amphora helps around 800 people. The Social Shop also functions as an information center. Hanging on the walls are posters relating to health, nutrition and financial management. “With us, the needy learn to adjust their requirements to their situation. We provide advice if they have any questions and are able to point them to the right state agencies,” explains Fronville. Besides attending the workshops, some of the project’s clients also work in the Social Shop, operating the tills, stacking the shelves or advising other customers.