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A garden where the inclusion of people in precarious situations is cultivated

Wednesday 23 October 2019

The inclusion through work and occupation of people in precarious or excluded situations is an important part of Caritas Luxembourg's action.

For a very long time, Caritas Luxembourg has been employing people in an activation measure, some of them at the Centre Ulysse where they help in the kitchen, at the reception desk or in the technical maintenance of the building, others in the social grocery shops, where they put the products on the shelves. A large majority work at the Atelier Thérapeutique in Ehlerange. They wash and iron the laundry of various accommodation facilities and at the same time receive individualised psycho-social support.

This year, a gardening activity was launched at the Centre de l'Oseraie of Caritas Luxembourg in Kopstal. Six people, employed as part of an activation measure and supervised by a professional gardener, have been growing vegetables since the beginning of the year. For the moment, production is still limited and is mainly used to provide the kitchen of the  Centre de l'Oseraie, which houses people who have long lived in the greatest precariousness. However, the team has many projects: develop the number of cultivable plots to increase yields and be able to provide other structures such as the Centre Ulysse with seasonal vegetables, sell the day's production to private individuals, set up winter crops such as mushrooms or endives, build a larger greenhouse to extend the growing period, create from recycled materials original containers for selling fruit and vegetables, be professionally equipped, and more.

We are going gradually because we need to build on what we have learned at each stage and ensure that we can guarantee regular delivery throughout the year," says Andreas Krzykowski, head of the Centre de l'Oseraie  of Caritas Luxembourg. "This requires investment, of course. That said, the value of the project goes beyond simple vegetable production."

The six people employed in the project are mostly new to the gardening profession. The professional gardener, who supervises them and is financed by the Office National de l'Inclusion Sociale (ONIS), trains them in the various techniques. This training then opens up new perspectives on the labour market. At the same time, this experience allows them to feel valued: They see a concrete result to their work. It's very motivating!

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