On October 4, 2018, Josefa House celebrated the beginning of its renovation and embellishment phase. Most of us were already familiar with the Josefa House. Others were visiting it for the first time: together, we were engaging in a reciprocal hospitality…
In 2011, the Josefa adventure began when we were confronted with what was then called a "migrant" crisis.
Migration and Welcoming: what could we say or propose that would be "new"? That was our question.
After a few months of reflection and discernment, we decided to turn the first page of the Josefa book.
In the company of new faces, we began to write our vision which gradually became more and more clear, unified and refined.
Recognised as a public-interest organisation on June 15, 2012, the Josefa Foundation today has the fundamental intuition that, by nature, as human beings, we are "all of us migrants" and that reciprocal hospitality opens a new path for our migrations.
Our migrations are at the core of our human condition, the core of our human history.
Breaking with convention, Josefa is daring to engage, question and propose a renewed way to face the challenges of migration, according to this societal vision: "All of us Migrants", and, according to its experience on a daily basis, at the threshold and within the Josefa House.
Vision: "All of us migrants" according to a comprehensive (physical, psycho-intellectual and spiritual) approach for each of us, as persons, as unique individuals, with an emphasis on the cultural and faith-based dimensions attached to our migration.
Mission: The Josefa House is working to change the perception of our migrations. In Brussels, there are around thirty co-residents, migrants from all over the world, and multiple (social, cultural and faith-based) proposals.
This October 4, we were thankful, giving thanks for the journey we have undertaken and, in particular, with the Saint Joseph Carmel.
It was in 2013 that the Saint Joseph Carmel had crossed paths with Josefa and, in 2014, the idea to provide the buildings on Drapiers Street came to light. After many twists and turns, it was in 2018 that the Saint Joseph Carmel, with the support of the Josefa Foundation, its contributors and partners, approved the renovation of the buildings in order to perpetuate the Josefa mission.
The aim of this architectural phase is to foster four fundamental pillars: safety; traffic flow; energy savings; and comfort, to facilitate and enhance the lives of residents of and visitors to the Josefa House, without neglecting the embellishment of the buildings.
On the basis of and with respect for the history of these buildings and especially the experience that the Josefa House has gained since May 2015, the aim is not only to support the capability of accommodating 32 people, but also to facilitate the other (social, economic, political, cultural, artistic and faith-based) objectives of the Josefa Foundation.
So, on October 4, it was not only a celebration of the upcoming renovations to the Josefa House, but also a celebration of the presence, counselling, and support that was still to come from you, from all of us migrants.
We invited and, as an incentive, gave thanks to the companies that are cooperating in the Josefa House renovations under the watchful and experienced eye of the architect, Erwin Spitzer; some of these companies include: the building contractor Zieleniewski, Ozan Roofing, Gyproc, Velux, Eternit, Dieteren, Somfy, Legrand, Cisco, Bosch, Van Marcke, Soler & Palau as well as many others…
It was also essential to highlight the support of the roughly 200 donors of the Josefa Foundation.
However, it should be added that Josefa does not currently benefit from any subsidy and that its activity is almost exclusively supported by the actions of its volunteers or by advice that is given pro bono.
And, in fact, the need for human, material and financial resources remains substantial.
For example, once the construction work is done, we will need to finalise the interior layout of the Josefa House: all the apartment furnishings, the kitchen and laundry appliances, the layout of the media library, the cultural, artistic and meditation spaces, and the garden; but we will also need to have sufficient financial reserves to cover the costs of the services (concierge, various service or advice providers) and to strengthen the Josefa Foundation in its capabilities to further its mission with the objectives set in 2018: a strong voice in international policy and institutions, the creation of the Josefa Academia and the blog, a proactive search for the building of a second Josefa House and the construction of a poustinia.
By the end of 2019, we will need an estimated € 500,000.
Therefore, any suggestions or proposals of support are welcome.
In conclusion, on October 4, all of us shared the wish that through the Josefa House our migrations will bring more meaning to our societies.
To all of us migrants, present on October 4 at the Josefa House or around the world, the Josefa team wished beautiful and peaceful journeys, for our present and certainly for generations to come.
Josefa House is ours.
At the heart of our migrations, the Josefa House,
A threshold, a space, those of a reciprocal hospitality,
In defence of our liberties.