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Youngsters Let’s Go Urban in open letter: “Worried that we will … (Kiel)

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Earlier it was announced that there is a good chance that the city of Antwerp will end its collaboration with Let’s Go Urban in the Urban Center. The subsidies to the non-profit organization were already suspended at the outbreak of the scandal surrounding Sihame El Kaouakibi. The city council is currently having an audit carried out. “Before the end of April, we will take a decision on the operating subsidies for Let’s Go Urban on the basis of the audit,” said Antwerp mayor Bart De Wever (N-VA).

READ ALSO: De Wever: “The chance that we will still support Let’s Go Urban is getting smaller”

The young people of Let’s Go Urban do not think it is fair that they have to pay for the case around founder Sihame El Kaouakibi, who has since stepped down from the board of directors of the organization.

Sihame El Kaouakibi.

Sihame El Kaouakibi. © Fred Debrock

“We are extremely concerned that the association will have to close and we will all lose our second home. (…) The association takes care of our well-being and gives us structure, especially in these difficult times. (…) We see in the press that the city is going to make decisions about the continued existence of the association. We are very sorry that we have to hear this through the press and that no one wants to hear our opinion on it, ”they say in the open letter. “Decisions are made above our heads. We do not get a future perspective. It’s about us, but nobody asks about us. This hits hard. ”

“The association has grown thanks to young people and volunteers who have been active over the years, not by one person. An association is created by the young people and employees who are active there, ”they say. “If mistakes have been made, not everyone should be punished for this, and certainly not the youngsters.”

The young people want to keep it working. “If necessary under a different name and with extra control.”

They do not want to comment in the letter about the revelations about Sihame El Kaouakibi. “This is separate from the content of our letter and we especially want to express our concerns and the association itself.”

READ ALSO: The sudden fall of Sihame El Kaouakibi: “I don’t know if we will see her much more”

Read the full letter below:

In our name but not with our vote!

We, young people and volunteers at Let’s Go Urban, have decided together to write this letter about the situation we are currently in.

To begin with, we would like to distance ourselves from the investigation that is underway with regard to Sihame El Kaouakibi. This is separate from the content of our letter and especially want to express ourselves about our concerns and the association itselff.

Some of us have been affiliated with LGU for more than six years, others have only recently found their way to LGU. Due to current events, we feel the need to speak out in a letter. Let’s Go Urban was started up for young people who live in vulnerable circumstances. All decisions that will now be made about the association will have a major impact on these young people. Decisions will be made without people knowing us or talking to us. We hope that we will be heard with this and that we will be taken into account when deciding on the future of the operation.

We are deeply concerned that the association will close and we will all lose our second home. In LGU there is a lot of diversity, we are open to everyone. Everyone can and should be themselves here. We are one big group of friends and new young people are joining all the time. LGU has grown from a place where we could dance, sing and exercise together, into something that means a lot more to us. The association takes care of our well-being and gives us structure, especially in these difficult times.

At Let’s Go Urban we get freedom and say in the organization. A lot starts from us, we are involved and we learn a lot ourselves. We really listen to our needs. This ‘bottom up’ work that the organization employs attracts us hard. We can also contact the employees for everything.

For example, in this Covid-19 period little attention has been paid to young people. Especially for those who have little space for themselves at home. LGU is one of the few associations that, since the 2nd lockdown, makes room every week for young students. When we heard that there was also a great need for tutoring for children, we also started organizing this. The young people from higher education who came to study at LGU, in turn, gave side-up lessons to children from the neighborhood. In addition, wellness bubbles are also organized with an eye for our general well-being. These bubbles are always full and of enormous importance to us. It is currently the only thing we can change our thoughts for a moment. Naturally, everything is done taking into account the corona measures of youth welfare work. The fact that we may lose all this at the end of the month of April, in the midst of a pandemic, gives us extra stress.

We see in the press that the city is going to make decisions about the continued existence of the association. We are very sorry that we have to hear this from the press and that no one wants to hear our opinion about it. Decisions are made above our heads. We do not get a future perspective. It’s about us, but nobody asks about us. This hits hard.

We are afraid that the association will disappear completely, but also that it will be taken over by another association here. Will the offer then change? Will we still have a say from us? Will the diverse reach of young people still remain? So much has changed since 2020 with the pandemic, if this is also taken from us, it will cause a chaos of concerns for many young people, which will cause many young people to drop out and be without a youth association. We feel good as it is now and also see the potential in the organization. This is also the reason why so many young people who join LGU also want to become volunteers. We therefore find it very important that we can continue in the same setting and with the same effect.

The association has grown thanks to young people and volunteers who have been active over the years, not by one person. An association is created by the young people and employees who are active there. If mistakes have been made, not everyone may be punished for this, and certainly not the youngsters.

We want to maintain our operation. If necessary under a different name and with extra control. We would like to invite the decisive actors of the city of Antwerp to come to us, so that we can talk together and get to know each other better! We are anxious to wait and hope that, after this letter, we will be listened to!

______

The LGU employees support the above letter but have chosen to let the young people sign anonymously to protect their privacy and security.

Due to the reports in the media about the decision that the city of Antwerp will take and due to a lack of time regarding the deadline, we have not been able to ask everyone to sign the letter. The support of young people, the sector and the neighborhood goes far beyond the list below. We want to thank everyone for this!

Signed by 124 members, youth and parents of LGU and Kiel:

R. 18 years old – member of LGU

M. 19 years old – student Silent Study / volunteer homework class

H. 19 years old – member of LGU / student Silent Study

N. 21 years old – volunteer LGU

Y. 20 years old – volunteer LGU

A. 22 years old – volunteer LGU

S. 19 years old – student Silent Study

I. 19 years old – Silent Study student and volunteer

Y. 22 years old – volunteer LGU

A. 22 years old – volunteer and LGU member

W. 18 years old – volunteer LGU

S. 22 years old – volunteer LGU

K. 18 years old – member of LGU

M. 18 years old – member of LGU

I. 22 years old – member of LGU

Y. 20 years – LGU member

N. 23 years old – volunteer LGU

I. 19 years old – member of LGU

S. 23 years old – ex-dancer LGU

J. 19 years old – dancer LGU

A. 19 years old – LGU member

S. 19 years old – member of LGU

B. 21 years old – younger from the neighborhood

Y. 17 years – dancer LGU

P. 20 years old – younger from the neighborhood

J. 18 years old – member of LGU

A. 19 years old – younger from the neighborhood

S. 15 years old – member of LGU

A. – mom of A. (in the children’s department)

M. 18 years old – member of LGU

I. 18 years old – dancer LGU

N. 18 years old – ex-member LGU

B. 16 years old – member of LGU

H. 21 years old – member of LGU

S. 22 years old – member of LGU

B. 20 years – member of LGU

A. 20 years – student silent study, volunteer and member at LGU

K. 17 years old – volunteer LGU

I. 21 years old – member of LGU and student silent study

D. 19 years old – dancer and member of LGU

I. 20 years old – volunteer LGU

O. 20 years – volunteer LGU

Y. 16 years old – member of LGU

E. 21 years old – student silent study

W. 18 years old – member of LGU and silent study

R. 23 years old – volunteer and dancer LGU

Y. 18 years old – volunteer LGU

M. 22 years – dancer LGU

C. 22 – student silent study and volunteer LGU

M. 19 years old – member of LGU

N. 18 years old – student silent study

M. 18 years old – student silent study

E. 20 years – student silent study

Z. 21 years old – member of LGU

K. 24 years old – member of LGU

B. 23 years old – younger from the neighborhood

M. 19 years old – student silent study

S. 19 years old – member of LGU

A. 19 years old – younger from the neighborhood

A. 20 years old – younger from the neighborhood

0.22 years old – younger from the neighborhood

M. 22 years old – younger from the neighborhood

T. 24 years old – younger from the neighborhood

B. 21 years old – younger from the neighborhood

M. 18 years old – ex-member LGU

I. 18 years old – ex-member LGU

P. 18 years – younger LGU

B. 21 years old – student silent study

N. 16 years old – volunteer LGU

D. 21 years old – student silent study

L. 22 years old – volunteer and LGU member

J. 19 years old – younger from the neighborhood

D. 24 years – LGU member

A. 18 years old – LGU member

L. 16 years old – dancer LGU

D. 22 years – younger LGU

A. 19 years – younger LGU

S. 17 years old – younger from the neighborhood

B. 11 years old – member of LGU

E. 15 years old – member of LGU

A. 24 years old – member of LGU

C. 23 years old – younger from the neighborhood

E. 55 years – older of neighborhood youth

M. 23 years old – younger from the neighborhood

M. 25 years old – younger from the neighborhood

P. 24 years old – ex-volunteer and dancer LGU / student silent study

T. 31 years old – dancer LGU

C. 27 years old – dancer LGU

H. 18 years old – student silent study

L. 22 years old – neighborhood younger and student silent study

M. 15 years old – younger from the neighborhood

I. 25 years – younger from the neighborhood and student silent study

Z. 15 years old – member of LGU

S. 23 years old – student silent study

I. 23 years old – younger from the neighborhood and student silent study

Y. 16 years old – volunteer and LGU member

C. 22 years old – LGU member and volunteer

A. 27 years old – dancer LGU

C. 27 years old – dancer LGU

N. 28 years old – dancer LGU

J. 33 years old – dancer LGU

Y. 22 years old – student silent study

N. 23 years old – student silent study

N. 23 years old – dancer LGU

I., age 27 – member of LGU

A. 19 years old – volunteer LGU

S. 22 years old – volunteer LGU

M. 23 years old – volunteer LGU

E. 30 years old – volunteer LGU

T. 21 years – coach LGU

A. 19 years old – student silent study

S. 25 years – coach LGU

S. 28 years old – member of LGU

G. 25 years – younger LGU

T. 21 years – younger LGU

C. 12 years old – member of LGU

N. 44 years old – mom of E and C (children’s operation LGU)

H. 23 years old – younger from the neighborhood

E. 21 years old – younger from the neighborhood

C. 23 years old – younger from the neighborhood

P. 20 years old – younger from the neighborhood

C. 58 years old – older in the neighborhood

B. 49 years old – older from the neighborhood

G. 24 years – younger LGU

Support for the young people of LGU from:

Youth association Kras Kiel (co-housing Urban Center)

Community development Antwerp

BOEH!

NH, coordinator Kifkif vzw

YM, General coordinator Bouckenborgh & founder Mayanaise vzw

LC, jc Bazzz

AB, jobjoach Kiel

PS, content coordinator Kavka

MH, concerned local resident and coach

YA, coach Kiel

BH, youth centers technician

YB, ex-coach LGU

CA, board member of youth associations Antwerp

CS, coordinator for the new players

BB, Xkwadraat tutoring classes mathematics Kiel / Borgerhout

LM, Diversity and Inclusion Consultant

SZ, coordinator Shedidit

NS, DJ Urban Center

NH, coordinator Nwicha

MM, educational employee Uit De Marge vzw

IM, social entrepreneur

SE, social worker

HB, consultant

KE, educational employee Antwerp South

(jvo)

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