Welcoming refugees and asylum seekers in Caux11/03/2022
Right now, more than 4.7 million displaced people have already left Ukraine in search of asylum, and others are moving away from Russia under the threat of imprisonment.
This war is on our European borders and as the European Centre of Initiatives of Change, we feel compelled to help those who have been forced to leave their community; their home.
What are we doing?
We have a long tradition of providing a safe space for people from conflict areas. In fact, the Caux Conference and Seminar Centre acted as a refugee centre during WWII before Initiatives of Change bought the building with the sole purpose of restoring trust between people in post-war Europe.
Therefore, we have decided to provide space for up to 30 people in Villa Maria (next to the Caux Palace). We have no intention of replacing formal asylum services and we work closely with local authorities with respect to the law. To liaise with the local agencies and services, we will appoint a liaison officer with a social service background who will be able to support this endeavor.
Why are we doing this?
For many years, the conferences in Caux Conference and Seminar Centre have benefitted not only from the contribution of many inspiring speakers and facilitators from Eastern Europe, but also from the practical support from people from Ukraine.
This is largely thanks to Foundations for Freedom, a trustbuilding programme for Eastern Europe that was born in Caux in the early ‘90s and is currently based in Ukraine. The programme has encouraged many people to take part in events in Caux.
In addition, the Weeks of International Community, which took place at the start of each summer in Caux, were also a time when Ukrainians, Russians and other Eastern Europeans came together building understanding and trust.
What does this mean for Caux?
Since space in the Villa Maria is limited, members of the Foundations for Freedom / Initiatives of Change network and their families will be given priority.
The Villa Maria remains available for external lets and the same spaces will be available. The common spaces for refugees and external guests will remain separate and the two should not disturb one another.
Your support makes it possible
This is an urgent response to a crisis, and we are seeking funding to cover the living costs of the refugees and asylum seekers that are not be covered by the local administration. This is an unplanned expense, but one that we feel is necessary – we cannot ignore so great a need.
We have estimated that the costs would be around CHF 30- per person/day (= estimated total cost of CHF 27,000/month for 30 people, including cost of living, salary of the liaison officer etc) . Anything you can contribute will help us to provide for our community members who are seeking safety.
For now, 18 people affected by the war in Ukraine have already been welcomed to Caux these last days and more will follow soon
Please pledge your support here and specify “Caux Refuge” when making your contribution.
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