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YA Brussels 2011

Minority stories IX: A life changing moment

Today we had an interview with a very special woman Quyen Truong Thi. She is 39 and she is from Vietnam. Now she lives in Brussels because she thinks that this city is the best for everything. She says that people in Brussels are very nice and helpful. She told us that in 1981 her father came to Brussels with notorious Vietnamesse boat people (poor people, who want to have a better life and they a...

Minority stories VIII: A fairytale that became a reality

Today, we – Tony (Bulgaria), Francesca (Italy) and Aleksandra (Poland) – interviewed Katarzyna Sawicesa – a Polish woman who came to Brussels when she was 20 and is still living there. She took a chance in 1990s and has come to Belgium as a tourist for three months. Then, she decided to stay in Brussels and was working illegally looking forward to a better tomorrow. The beginnings of h...

Minority stories VII: “Africa is where my heart belongs”

Britta (Estonia), Enja (Norway) and Krista (Finland) interviewed a Rwandan woman, Marie-Pierre, 44, who moved to Belgium to study for an university degree because she was unable to attend a Rwandan university due to her late father’s high position in the past. She intended to return to Rwanda after finishing her degree, but was unable to due to the growing instability in the country which cu...

Minority stories V: Chinese minorities in Brussels – interviewing Chan Chi How

Britta (Estonia), Sanni (Finland) and Yolanda (Spain) went to Anderlecht for their interview: Our assignment to study chinese minorities in Brussels, led us to the house of Chan Chi How, situated in Anderlecht. Mr. How is a 42 year old IT specialist, who was born in Brussels and belongs to the second generation of Chinese immigrants. His grandfather arrived to Brussels before the Second World War,...

Minority stories IV: A Polish woman in the city of tolerance

Aleksandra (Poland), Gabriele (Italy) and Ilona (Latvia) went to the European Comission to interview Aleksandra Hedb from Silesia (a Polish mining region). She was born near the border with Czech Republic so she has been dealing with other cultures from the early beginnings of her life. She was studying sociology at the University of Breslau and  came to Brussels in 2003. Although the beginnings w...

Visiting Bois du Caziers: 55 years after the mine tragedy

Today the Eustory-group went on a trip to southern Belgium, Vallonia, to visit and see the great canal systems and the museum of the former coalmine ‘Le Bois du Cazier’ . We first got on the bus and drove to the Houdeng-Aimeries waterlift, where we after a nice and very sunny trip on the channel, actually got to try out the world famous waterlifts. We had a quick lunch at the informati...

Minoritiy stories III: The Italian experience

The Italian experience Think about having Belgium, Slovenia, Romania, Italy and Rwanda in the same room: that is what happen in the case of Bo (Belgium), Cristina (Romania) and Mateja (Slovenia): Two mixed stories and two different points of view built the whole »old and new migration« for us. Loredana is a nice and warm Italian lady, about 60 years old, who came here in the 1970s in order to teac...

Minority stories II: The history and future of a Belgo-Congolese

A summary of the  interview with Augistin Nkenda by Enja (Norway), Victoria (Switzerland) and Zlatina (Bulgaria): The meeting with Nkenda was a meeting with a passionate man who has managed to keep his values and traditions, but at the same time integrate in the Belgian society. We met him in his own food store “General and exotic food store”, where he welcomed us with a friendly and open-minded a...

Discovering the life of minorities No 1: A cafeteria experience…

We formed six groups that headed to different parts of Brussels to speak to members of different communities. You can read the summaries of the interviews here on the blog, starting with: Anna from Slovenia, Francesca from Italy and Liva from Latvia interviewed Malika Abbad from Marocco. We were talking about her personal experience with migrations and minorities in Brussels. She has very importan...

How much should one integrate? The ABC of minorities

After a really short night – the last participants arrived at 1 am – and a brief get-to-know-each other we moved from our nice accommodation to the centre of to Brusseles, to the museum BELvue which is our working place for this week. There the students jumped right into the topic while finding words connected to minorities, cluster and discuss them. This was a good brainstorming for t...

Coming up next: First EUSTORY academy 2011

More than 180 ethnic minorities are living in Brussels, the capital of Belgium and of the European Union. They come from all over the world, bringing their cultural backgrounds with them. Some families have been living here for generations, other individuals have just arrived. Young people from 13 European countries will meet in Brussels from 28 August to 3 September in order to explore different ...