2022 was marked by the war in Ukraine. A conflict that forced millions of people to go into exile. In Belgium, the combination of political will and numerous outpourings of solidarity has made it possible to welcome these Ukrainian men and women with dignity. An example of what protection could, and should, be for all those who flee their country because of fear of persecution or because of violent conflicts.
Once their primary needs fulfilled, many of them then joined our association, with the desire to (re)build their professional future. We accompanied them on this path, as we do on a daily basis with all the young people who face inequality of access to the job market because of their origins.
The 50+ also continue to face a lack of appreciation of their experience and skills. According to recent surveys in France or in Belgium most of them say they are victims of prejudice because of their age, and it's a general belief that getting old is an obstacle in social life.
The two observations that founded our action 10 years ago are still valid today. This gives us the desire and energy to continue developing mentoring for a fairer and more egalitarian society.
But let's take a moment to stop and look back. Celebrating together the 10th anniversary of the association is first of all an opportunity to take stock: 3 countries, 17 cities, 80 collaborators, 5473 trained duos, and a community of 1836 active mentors at our side. What a long way we've come! How lucky we are to have witnessed all these encounters, all these changes in trajectory!
For all this, we want to take the time to thank all the people who have accompanied us since the beginning, who believed in the power of intergenerational collaboration, and without whom all this would never have happened: the mentees and mentors of course, who trusted us. But also: our exceptional team, our volunteers, our public, private and associative partners, without forgetting the support of our donors.
Encouraging so many unlikely encounters is a source of mutual enrichment but also a breeding ground for the values we believe in: diversity, open-mindedness, inclusion, solidarity.
Let's keep up the pace and… see you in 10 years?
4 years ago, Hamsa followed her husband and left India to settle in Belgium. The early days were complicated: acclimatising to a new culture, with no points of reference, no social circle and no job was a real blow for her.
When she started her duo with Elizabeth, she knew straight away that this was THE mentor she needed to give her a boost! But combining French lessons with an assiduous job search has not been a smooth ride...
Barbaros' thing is the sea! But when he arrived in Belgium, he discovered that it's not so easy to break into the maritime sector, especially if you don't speak Dutch. He started the programme with Bernard, who also knows the industry well. But as the programme progressed, Barbaros realised that this path might not be the one that best suited his current life... How can he rethink his career plan based on his skills?
For DUO, 2022 marks a new turning point in the development of the association in Europe with the return of face-to-face mentor training, the opening of new offices to strengthen our territorial network, and the creation or reinforcement of numerous key partnerships.More info about DUO
A big THANK YOU to all our partners! Thanks to their precious support, our association can keep on offering more and more youngsters and 50-plussers a qualitative and totally free program.
Their generosity and involvement are also a continuous source of motivation for our teams, confirming that many of us want to move in the same direction.
Without being able to name them individually, we certainly do not forget the many donors, philanthropists and patrons who also enable us to make a difference, nor all the other operational partners with whom we collaborate on a daily basis.