Ghislaine Radoux-Rogier was a member of the Catholic Maranatha Community and widow of a lawyer from Charleroi (in southern Belgium). Her husband was very involved in fighting poverty. In the 1980s she extended her endeavour to Brussels, welcoming all those in distress. welcoming all those in distress.
There was a lot of dedication but little organisation! Father Lambert, who was the founder of the Community, asked Guy Leroy to help Ghislaine Radoux-Rogier change this. Assisted by a few volunteers, Guy established the foundations of the activity of Accompanying.
Guy was ordained in 1984. He widened the scope of their operation to the homeless and marginalised in the parish of St Mary Magdalen Church in central Brussels, where he officiated. Accompagner was born!
A new opportunity presented itself. The Congregation of the Augustinians of the Assumption launched an international call for projects aimed specifically at supporting poor people. The project of accompanying in daily life in Brussels was approved.
An international association (Accompagner) was established. Its mission was to accompany people in distress carry out all the paperwork to defend their rights and allow them to regain their independence. We thus progressed from an occasional to a permanent type of support.
Offices were rented. Professional staff was hired. Requests for help kept on increasing. A more efficient and effective organisation was put in place.
The Catholic NGO Action Vivre Ensemble (Action Living Together) acknowledged the relevance of the service provided by Accompagner and granted financial support, which was renewed in 2007 and 2009.
The international association stepped down and a Belgian NGO called Les Amis d’Accompagner (the friends of Accompanying) was created. Its aim was to develop the supporting activities at a national level. The objective was to increase the involvement of volunteers in the life of the project and make it sustainable.
Les Amis d’Accompagner was granted financial support from the Poverty fund managed by the Fondation Roi Baudouin (Foundation King Baudouin) in recognition of their distinct activity. Les Amis d’Accompagner received the Prix du civisme (Prize for public spirit) from the municipality of Koekelberg.
Her Royal Highness Princess Astrid became the patron of Les Amis d’Accompagner for 2 years.
The association was selected by the municipality of Koekelberg in the framework of the « Municipal social cohesion programme 2011-2015 » organised by the Commission de la Communauté Française (Commission of the French Community). The work in favour of newcomers was encouraged and Les Amis d’Accompagner became a recognized public-interest organization.
The 15th May marked 10 years at the service of the most deprived. Her Royal Highness Princess Astrid renewed her high patronage to Les amis d’Accompagner for 5 years. In addition, Les amis d’Accompagner signed a 3 year agreement with the NGO Action Vivre Ensemble (Action Living Together)
2012 was the year of volunteers! Their number was continuously increasing, as well as their commitment to the daily functioning of the NGO. The work with partners became more intense, and their numbers increased. From the financial point of view, the Ministry of Finance authorized the association to provide donors with a tax exemption certificate.
The NGO restructured its organisation. From now on two complementary services would function side by side in the Welcoming office. The socio-legal service is run by five volunteers. The Service to the Partners is supervised by the liason officer who takes care of the requests to accompany beneficiaries introduced through the social network An Operational Officer is responsible for coordinating and supervising both services.
An incredibly busy year! We became a member of the Association pour une Ethique dans la Récolte des Fonds (Association for ethical fundraising)
We were helped by Médecins du Monde (Doctors without borders) and a young French lady who was a member of Jeunes à travers le monde (Young people across the world), which demonstrates the effectiveness of our activities. We also cooperated with the Catholic French-speaking Media
We improved our working methods and information provision by updating our Website and making videos illustrating our activities.
Without a doubt this was the year of recognition! The importance of our project and 15 years of hard work were duly acknowledged. Once again, we were granted funding in the framework of the Municipal social cohesion programme 2011-2015 organised by the Commission de la Communauté Française (Commission of the French Community) via the municipality of Koekelberg. Her Royal Highness Princess Astrid renewed her patronage for a period of 5 years starting in April 2016. Furthermore, the Board of directors of the Forum bruxellois de lutte contre la pauvrete (Brussels forum for the fight against poverty) accepted our request for membership and invited us to participate in the Commission for the attribution of social housing in the municipality of Koekelberg. Finally, our NGO received European endowment by receiving financial aid from Give Eur Hope.
Our application to the Conseil Bruxellois de Coordination Sociopolitique (Brussels Council of socio-political coordination) was accepted. This year a lot of energy was spent on internal consolidation. We published a Welcoming charter for our users, introduced the quarterly supervision of our socio-legal welcoming staff by a psychologist, as well as started running quarterly round tables for our volunteers. Our evolution required new offices, which were furnished and equipped on the 1st and 2nd floor of our Welcoming office.
Finally, we published a case study written by one of our volunteers concerning “A reality check regarding the integration of refugees in society. What role for volunteering? as a “Testimony of accompanying a family of refugees.”
Our NGO was recognised by a number of official bodies. We obtained financial aid from the Commission communautaire commune (Common community commission) to complete our accreditation request as an official Helpdesk. Our membership to the Fédération des Services Sociaux (Federation of Social Services), which federates social services and psycho-social associations in Brussels and Walloonia, was recognized and approved. The Service public fédéral Finances (Federal public financial services) accepted to extend our authorization to issue tax certificates for the years 2018 to 2023. We also received recognition from a number of ‘peers’ (i.e. other NGOs). Since 2014, we have registered 42 partnership agreements including Fédasil, Convivial, Médecin du Monde, SIREAS, Ariane Center, Via, BAPO, Samusocial, numbers of CPAS, hospitals, medical houses and various associations.