Minor-Ndako offers adapted care and helps children, youngsters and their context in problematic situations in Belgium. We focus on children from all over the world, in particular the most vulnerable among them. Most of them are young refugees between 10 and 20 years old.
Minor-Ndako was established in 2002 because of the need for better care for unaccompanied foreign minors. The name is derived from the Latin word for a child under the age of 18, a minor, while ndako is the word for home in Lingala, one of the language spoken in the Republic of the Congo. The name reflects what we stand for: beside care for minors, we aim at different cultures living together in harmony. We want to offer a home, individual care and a future.
Participation and inclusion in society are the cornerstones of our approach. We assure qualitative aid and offer children and youngsters a warm nest that gives them energy and power to go on with their lives. With persistent engagement we aim at finding a durable solution for each of them.
Minor-Ndako has been recognized by The Flemish Government within the framework of Integrale Jeugdhulp (Integrated Youth Care).
In general, Minor-Ndako offers 2 types of help: residential care in small living units (max of 12 youngsters per group, boys and girls, age-related, open 24h/24h) and Assisted living (16 years or older, focus on integration/self-reliance/autonomy).
Minor-Ndako consists of several centers in Brussels, Leuven, Aalst, Gent, Sint-Niklaas, and Dilbeek. In total we offer adapted care and help for approximately 130 unaccompanied minors.
What have we done so far in the field of social inclusion?
In 2014 and 2015 we started under the Minor-Ndako wing our own sports unit, Minor-Ndako Sports. Currently we have a football team (made up of unaccompanied minors) in the Brussels indoor football league and a running club.
One of the reasons we started with Minor-Ndako sports is the fact that our youngsters have very difficult access (for several reasons) to clubs and competitions in Brussels. Inclusion is important for us and we believe that every youngster has the right to sport in clubs and competitions.
Through Minor-Ndako Sports we want to introduce sport to our youngsters in a fun, challenging and healthy way. The focus lies on sports, relaxation and doing something together, everyone being away from their daily routine.
We made the conscious decision to focus on the social aspect of sports working towards a goal with the group. Sports are a good and powerful way of bringing people together, we want to use it as a binding factor. The language of sports is an international language. This is why we participate in sport events with a mixture of youngsters, educators and external participants (well-wishers or partners). The goal is to broaden the network of our youngsters and to give the opportunity to know each other.
Each sportteam is guided by an exterior coach, an educator of Minor-Ndako and, if possible, a youngster who was in the past guided by Minor-Ndako. We train weekly. In the future we want to start a cricket team in the same way.
What is our role in the ASPIRE project?
Minor-Ndako has the role of "expert in the field". We guided several hundred young refugees over the past 15 years. We have a lot of experience in working with young refugees and have a wide network of partners. Since 2014 we use actively sport in the guidance of our youngsters.
Minor-Ndako will contribute, comment and test the training module from the perspective of non-sport organisation.
Who is the person involved on behalf of our organisation?
The person who is involved in the project on behalf of Minor-Ndako is Gijs Vercoutere, Sports Coordinator at Minor-Ndako. Gijs started at Minor-Ndako in July 2010 as an educator at Lisanga (assisted living for recognized minor refugees between 16 and 18). In September 2015 he became Sports Coordinator and founded Minor-Ndako Sport.