A cohesive society has ‘trust’ as an important element, which is essential to promote social cohesion and implies the need for sharing relations and values. It is recognized that the refugee community desires to find a new home in the Netherlands, a place where they belong and contribute. Meanwhile, the Dutch government makes efforts to successfully integrate refugees within the society. Therefore, mutual understanding, respect and acceptance are essential to foster this process.
The root of many problems and challenges, as experienced by Road of Hope, is a lack of a relationship of trust. For various reasons, the refugees we encounter are suspicious about authorities and organizations in the host country. Cultural aspects and communication barriers make it even more difficult for them to seek and accept help.
Developing a sense of safe community and understanding the host society is crucial to facilitate refugee integration. After newcomers get their house, the challenge to settle in an unknown reality starts, as they struggle to comprehend this new context and absorb new information. Therefore, relationship with locals can help change this unfamiliar reality into a new home for them. Thus, in order to bring people together and to facilitate the opportunity to connect and establish relationships, Road of Hope promotes social and cultural events, and participates in community actions. Besides encouraging and creating opportunities for those relationships, the organization aims to create a bridge between Dutch and refugee community. Thus, in every event Dutch cultural awareness is raised, dos and don’ts are explained and Dutch lifestyle is clarified. Examples are King’s Day, where refugees can showcase their culture through their cuisine while learning Dutch culture, or Sinterklaas and the Christmas dinner, and also community tours and gatherings. These celebrations are promoted to unite families of refugees and Dutch to show part of the Dutch culture, independent of religion, including games for young people and children, bazaars, adult sports and aesthetic care for women.