How we work

At RPM we acknowledge that we operate from a position of power and privilege.
We focus on community building and empowerment towards refugees and volunteers. Within all our projects, we collaborate with refugees and local partner 
organisations. We make sure that whatever we do corresponds to the needs
of the refugee community. We actively look 
or ways to flip the script and include refugees in positions of leadership.

We listen. We learn about our own unconscious bias. We are inclusive. Sometimes we make mistakes, but we aim to be a learning organization. We provide structure & support by offering training, evaluating regularly, and listening to constructive feedback. We provide flexibility so that everyone can work on projects that they
are passionate about.

Project Structure

There are close to 30 projects within RPM (and counting:), clustered into 9 focus fields and 3 broad objectives. In addition, there is a Communications Team that supports the whole organization. Each RPM student board member is responsible for overseeing one or two focus fields and one or two projects. All other projects are led by volunteers (students or refugees). 

The people involved in our focus area ‘Communication’ support the other focus areas by enabling the flow of information about our events and our achievements with refugees, locals, volunteers, and our partners. We are the main contact point between the public and the organization, and take responsibility for creating bridges between projects and securing a welcoming environment for all new and existing people in our community. We take care of all mediums of communication.

The focus area ‘Voice’ is about sharing stories, with and on behalf of refugees. It aims to offer a platform where the voice of refugees can be heard. In this way, it contributes to awareness raising, one of the main goals of RPM. One of the activities in this focus area is the RPM blog, which opens up space for the voice of our community (including refugees, volunteers and guest writers) to be heard. Other projects that we hope to realize in future, are a refugee newspaper and a RPM podcast.

The focus area “Change” seeks to raise awareness for (contemporary) social issues by promoting mutual understanding. Therefore, we organize lectures, show movies or host discussions and debates. Additionally, we participate in protests around Maastricht, collaborate with local student associations and organizations, or engage in other forms of activism. Currently, we are also organizing a fundraiser in cooperation with Stichting Vluchteling.

Learning languages is surely one of the most important aspects of integration. Hence, the main goals of the focus
field ‘Language’ are to provide skills training, support language acquisition in a fun way and organize projects which
offer long-term perspectives. It connects people from different cultures and backgrounds on a level where they can
meet by focusing on Dutch, English and “teaching their languages”.

Under the slogan “new home, new dreams, new skills”, the main goals of this new focus area are to incorporate refugees
from the beginning onwards and create opportunities to grow together. It is about connecting refugees to locals and
creating community enterprises together, and aims to change power structures and perspectives in the long-run.
Therefore, we support self-realization and focus on refugee empowerment and refugee entrepreneurship initiatives.

The focus area “Create & Connect” serves as a bridge-builder between all participants of the RPM community. Our aim is
to establish lasting and meaningful connections and friendships across cultures. In less pretentious terms, we get
together and have fun – and like so, stealthily work on our own intercultural understanding and knowledge. Through our
events, participants can experience the power of togetherness through creativity and intercultural understanding, and
embrace the humanity in all of us.

The focus area of “Sports” aims at keeping the refugee community in Maastricht active by offering several opportunities
to get involved in sports. Using the unifying element of sport, we welcome the refugees, students, and locals in the
Maastricht community and foster intercultural exchange and social integration. The approach of the Refugee Project
Maastricht enables informal meeting points for refugees and students in an active environment to enjoy weekly low-key
sports activities such as football, volleyball or a hike, contributing to an inclusive society. Project Sports goal is to convey
a feeling of togetherness and break the isolation refugees often find themselves in.

Moving somewhere new can be frightening and exciting at the same time. Let’s go on a shared journey to explore our
new home and each other’s cultures together. There is so much to learn. Maastricht has historically been at a crossroads of cultures: welcoming newcomers, speaking multiple languages (including the local dialect), incorporating different cultural traditions and cuisines is part of this city’s heritage. Let’s write the next chapter together.

Many of the refugees don’t come alone: they have children – for whom they want a better future, education and a life in peace. Many of these families come from African and Middle Eastern countries, and also, many of them have common experiences of trauma. All those experiences together with the challenges of settling into a totally different new country affects family well-being and parenting practices significantly. Parenting styles which are normative in their home country might be not endorsed in The Netherlands. This is why it is important to support these families using culturally competent community development practices. This is our purpose: to give these children and their families social contacts, knowledge and a chance to build up a good life in their new country.