De Voorkamer project is based on equality and individuality. It creates a framework for the participants to work on an assignment that fits them, that is meaningful to them and stimulates independence and personal integration.
An asylum seekers center functions as a total institution in which the individual’s skills and qualities are often not acknowledged or addressed. Throughout their stay residents have no real work opportunity. De Voorkamer allows them to demonstrate their skills and talents and to collaborate with local professionals. The participants are seen as individuals, not only as a group. This is a crucial step to creating new relationships, overcoming stigmatisation and making known the diversity of people living in a refugee center.
Alongside the individual assignments, the development of De Voorkamer as a whole is done in a group. Decisions are made together, and group meetings are held regularly. The first phases of the project generate the involvement of participants. By the last phase they will have become confident and proud, willing and able to host De Voorkamer events.
De Voorkamer is an initiative by Pim van der Mijl. The social framework he designed and envisioned is a response to the persistent difficulty of refugees and their search for asylum. The pilot took place in Haren municipality near Groningen, with a group of eight participants, April - June 2015. Since 2016, Collective Nouns Foundation is the organisation behind De Voorkamer.