Arnhem – Barka Foundation Netherlands is active again since this month in Arnhem. The foundation helps homeless people from Central and Eastern Europe to return to their own countries. According to the municipality the approach of Barka is successful. In one year alone 28 people were helped to return home.
There are two Barka‘s employees present every Thursday morning at the “Kruispunt” (translation Crossroads) homeless shelter in Arnhem. Anton Metske from”Kruispunt” is very positive about the work Barka does: “Barka is fantastic, people are very attentive and efficient. They immediately recognize a problem without unnecessary deliberation. For me it’s the Egg of Columbus. ” Metske gives an example: We had Polish person here with acute psychosis, his illness created a lot of chaos. First, Barka made very careful contact with him. Then, they managed to place him temporarily in a hospital in Wolfhezen. He was not insured Barka took care of everything. Meanwhile they contacted both his family and psychiatric hospital in Poland. Finally they assisted him on his trip back to Poland. They work very fast and straightforward. They have good approach, just go to the street and meet people in need and don’t concentrate too much on bureaucracy.
Barka was founded in 1989 in Poland by two psychologists, Barbara and Tomasz Sadowski, who wanted to provide care in their community for homeless people, psychiatric patients and former detainees. Barka has been active in the cities of Utrecht, Amsterdam, The Hague, Eindhoven and Arnhem since 2012. Barka‘s main focus is on those who have problems with drug and alcohol addiction. They work with mostly men between 40-50 years old from Eastern and Central Europe. Main reason why those people leave their countries is to support their families financially. Often, they have to even borrow money for the trip. When they finally arrive to Holland and they cannot find a job they degrade very fast. They are ashamed and do not want families and friends to know about their failure. This shame is a major barrier in returning home.