Students can stay in rest homes if they do voluntary work

From this academic year on, students of the Karel De Grote Hogeschool have been able to stay in a residential care centre in Antwerp. They can rent a room for 300 euros per month under one condition: to volunteer 5 hours a week in the rest home. 

For the time being, the first eight student rooms in five residential care centres in Antwerp have been furnished. "It was clearly decided to open up the project to all students. For a number of less wealthy students, it can certainly be a financial help. But the main goal is still intergenerational learning experience", says Veerle Hendrickx, director of the Karel de Grote Hogeschool Antwerpen.

Boris studies accountancy and tax and he lives in residential care centre 't Zand on the Left Bank in Antwerp. He grabs his chance with great enthusiasm: "The financial and the social aspects were the most important advantages. When I lived at home, I regularly helped people in the village."

Boris adds: "After dinner at five o'clock I see how quickly everyone disappears to their room and how quickly the lights go out. You can give a party, provided you make arrangements. The cleaning service comes here every week. Every day I get a clean towel and a washcloth and the bed linen is changed every week."

Boris already knows what he is going to do during the obligatory 5-hour volunteering per week : "On Tuesday evening I watch two hours of television with the residents. I spend two hours as a "buddy"to keep someone’s company. And I keep an hour free for those who want to visit something or go to the shop."