Journal: How the CFL and City of Luxembourg want to give a “Parachute” to refugees and others who need to be pointed in the right direction.
Daniel Frising of Luxembourg’s state railway company, the CFL, says: “Railway stations are a common place for those who are excluded from society to converge.” Which is why the CFL and Ville de Luxembourg (City of Luxembourg) have launched a two year joint venture project, officially the Pôle social et d’orientation (social orientation centre) but dubbed “Parachute”.
The purpose of the project is to provide information and guidance to disadvantaged people in Luxembourg, such as the homeless, adolescent runaways and refugees seeking asylum.
The CFL began working with other humanitarian organisations in Luxembourg through the Streetwork project a number of years ago; however the decision to launch a pilot programme with the Ville de Luxembourg is a fairly recent one, says Frising. “In regards to funding the project, the CFL pays for all the infrastructure and working costs, whilst the Ville de Luxembourg provides the services and salary of Fabien, the project’s social worker.”
Parachute is run out of an office at the Gare centrale (central train station), which was inaugurated on 1 March by Corinne Cahen, the family minister, and François Bausch, the infrastructure minister. The office, near the police post and intercity bus stops on the southwestern side of the station, is open Monday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 12 noon and 1 p.m. to 6 p.m.
“The purpose of the project is to provide information on social institutions that support the disadvantaged in Luxembourg City, not to offer a sanctuary,” explains Frising. “Of course we can offer a cup of coffee and the use of sanitary facilities, but our primary function is to provide information on where to find social assistance.”
Parachute provides a free orientation guide listing contact information on Luxembourg support institutions. People can also speak with the city’s social worker or use one of the office’s computers. The programme has links with other social organisations--such as Asti, Caritas and Inter-Actions--allowing them to put clients in direct contact with those associations that would be able to serve their needs.
In the future, the CFL hopes to extend the project to other railway stations, such as those at Esch-Alzette and Ettelbrück. “We currently have a working partnership with the Fonds national de solidarité,” adds Frising. “We hope that in the future other organisations will be interested in sponsoring the Parachute project, be it in the form of donations or direct action.”
The project does not currently need volunteers, but commuters and travellers using the railway station can always be of assistance. “If they notice someone in need of help, they can come to the Parachute office or advise a member of CFL staff or the police. We will then ensure that person is given the support they need.”