Who we are
Road of Hope is a non-profit organization based in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, that supports refugees in their journey to integration. We are dedicated to helping refugees to better integrate and settle in host communities. We do so by guiding various aspects of refugees’ integration, including helping them to navigate and understand the host community, rebuilding their sense of acceptance and self-esteem. Also Welcoming and accompanying each refugee individually, taking into account their individual, family and social needs, understanding that working with refugees should be developed from an understanding of their culture, history and background. We use every opportunity to develop relationships, clearly understanding their demands, contributing to overcoming their emotional issues and cultural barriers, and helping them adapt to the local culture.
Road of Hope was established as an initiative to better the current refugee reception and integration in The Netherlands. Road of Hope birthed out of its founder’s heart, Patrícia Barendregt, while she worked at a refugee camp in Sudan in 2007. She lived in that camp for 14 months, experiencing the same conditions of the refugees. With that, Patrícia Barendregt was able to go through an adaptation and integration process, thus seeing first-hand the refugees’ problems and needs. Later on, her experience in different countries and refugee camps from North Africa and Middle East, including as a social science researcher, strengthened her dream of providing assistance to refugees while respecting their culture and background.
Her experience in the Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan – conducting her fieldwork research for her Master Thesis at The University of Amsterdam– changed her life as well as her outlook on life. In addition to poverty and inhuman life conditions, she was strongly impacted by the feeling of hopelessness present at the camp, which was generated not only by the lack of prospects for the future, but also by the traumas of war, prejudice and brutality by which they were torn from their land.
She identified that cultural differences, language barriers and lack of personal contact with the refugees have caused problems between them and the host community. That often results in misperception and prejudice between refugees and the host community, which, in the long-term, will hinder integration and harmonization with the Dutch society overall.
Recognition of these problems and insights as to overcome them is the core inspiration of Road of Hope. Discussion with colleagues and community active in research and thinking about the challenges of migration led to recognition that a new collaborative organization was the best way to serve refugees and their host communities.