POLITICS & INSTITUTIONS - ECONOMY

Community projects desperately seeking new home



Marianne Donven, who created Hariko, told Delano in June: “I cannot imagine Hariko will disappear” Mike Zenari

Marianne Donven, who created Hariko, told Delano in June: “I cannot imagine Hariko will disappear” Mike Zenari

A handful of community projects may soon find themselves homeless after the owners of the building they currently occupy has found a buyer.

Among the initiatives affected by the sale of 1 Dernier Sol is Red Cross art initiative Hariko, a collaborative project in which resident artists give workshops to young people in exchange for a low-cost studio. It has had temporary use of the former factory building since 2015 and is now urgently seeking a new home.

“For now we’re in the negotiation stages with potential partners,” Red Cross communications officer Chloe Kolb told Delano on 21 September, adding: “The Red Cross is convinced that this is a worthwhile mission. While we don’t know what will happen, we’re optimistic.”

Project creator Marianne Donven told Delano for its June 2017 print edition that since the project launched in September 2015, they always knew it would be a temporary home.

“I think we have the potential to maybe continue in a different way,” she told Delano at the time. “I cannot imagine Hariko will disappear.”

Another project which will be affected is Digital Inclusion, a ground-breaking NGO that aims to offer access to digital technology for people on low incomes, namely refugees, by refurbishing second-hand computers and laptops. Since being founded, the group has distributed over 800 computers to people who could not otherwise have afforded one. They also offer training for refugees and employ refugees among their team of 3.

Digital Inclusion has storage space, an office, and a classroom-makerspace in 1 Dernier Sol, which it uses in partnership with the Red Cross. “We deliver material to a population that doesn’t have a car. It’s essential for us to be by the gare,” founder Patrick De La Hamette said on 21 September. “It’s not easy. You can imagine finding cheap rent in the centre of Luxembourg.”

De La Hamette says without a space, they would not be able to exist. He hopes that the organisation will be able to stay at its current address until March 2018. After that, however, it is not clear what will happen.

A third organisation, Passerell, will also be affected by the building sale. This NGO fosters social connections between locals and displaced people in Luxembourg through information sharing and activities.

Anyone with a space that may be appropriate for these organisations in Luxembourg City is urged to contact the Luxembourg Red Cross by calling 27 55 or for Digital Inclusion, email [email protected].