De Maanwandelaars are well known for offering housing solutions and meaningful daytime activities for adults with medium or severe mental disabilities. With five locations in the southern outskirts of Antwerp, they consciously opt for warm small scale and flexibility. This forms a favorable framework for offering people maximum participation in their own care plan. As far as possible, people are encouraged and guided towards greater self-reliance and self-confidence.

One of the targets is to live as much as possible in the midst of normal society. For hundreds of years, people with mental disabilities were safely hidden away on specialized islands of care. Initiatives such as the day workshop De Satelliet run by De Maanwandelaars are helping to make the change.

Close-by the center of Boechout you’ll find a spacious workshop behind the Heuvelstraat residence of De Maanwandelaars, sharing is the theme for the operation of this workshop and what it is all about.

Sharing with all families from the wider area with children under the age of 12 thanks to the children’s bicycle library. Children’s bicycles in all sizes are collected and checked so that they are safely available to children for a minimal fee. Cycling safely is a wonderful asset, but children grow like weeds and regularly need a larger size of bicycle. De Satelliet works here to lower the threshold.

Sharing with everyone from a wider area of people who do not immediately throw away in the container park every device that breaks down. De Satelliet serves as a turntable for the Repair Café volunteers, who are only too happy to first check whether the device can be easily repaired.

Sharing with inhabitants of Boechout who have a financially difficult time and who make use of the food sharing organized in De Satelliet via the Municipal Social Welfare. A growing group of shops, traders and growers are keeping surpluses aside in order to share them with the people in need.

Sharing with refugees who can shelter in Boechout. Thanks to a sewing workshop in De Satelliet, volunteers from Gastvrij Boechout give sewing courses so that people can learn to make and repair their own clothes.

This unique mixture and collaboration between volunteers with neighbours and counselors forms a very natural context in which people with mental disabilities easily find their own role. All activities take place at separate times so that De Satelliet is not as busy as a beehive. This would be confusing for the users and counterproductive.

The spacious workshop is also arranged in such a way that everything is well-arranged and essentially restful. In the center is a large table and chairs. Due to the mix of volunteers and visitors, De Satelliet is in fact also a meeting place. At any time people are able to sit down to chat and have a cup of coffee. When it is summer there will certainly be a few chairs outside in the garden where sun and shade will also be shared restfully.

At De Satelliet, inclusion is so much more than a word.

When interested you can contact Nele Moris, our coordinator of The Satelliet. Please mail her at [email protected]

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