Ichec Brussels Management School has a long tradition of openness towards international and intercultural realities, in particular concerning developing countries.
The ICHEC Housing Project is a part of this tradition. Its goal is to enhance students' awareness of life conditions in a developing country.
What is the ICHEC Housing Project?
An experience of intercultural openness...
The focus of the project is on the students. The objective is to offer them the opportunity to meet, in privileged conditions, other people, citiziens of the world, like they are, who face both identical and completely different realities, to gain from this experience, and to discover the world from another point of view, the point of view of a developing country, with treasures and its shortages. Back home, we hope it will help them rediscover their own universe.
of service to others...
The project to raise students' awareness of cultural diversity is combined with a development project. Indeed, the best way for them to meet people of the south is to help them in their effort to improve their life conditions. Therefore, we offer them the possibility to join a locally organized humanitarian development project, and to take an active part in its success.
within a group...
This is not only individual but also a group experience. The participants are divided into small teams of ten persons. Each team lives together during one month an a small village. This community experience is one of the most fulfilling aspects of the project. Not only must they embark on this project with open-mindedness towards natives but also towards the members of their team.
in a developing country...
To be a citizien of the world, it is essential to consider it from different points of view. In this regard, we believe it is interesting to add the point of view of ''the south'' to our ''occidental'' point of view. We are currently working with 3 countries : India, Benin and Burkina Faso.
The greatest part of the budget is financed by the students themselves. They have to demonstrate creativity and energy to collect 1700€ per person to contribute to the project. Each participant has to collect the necessary amount for his/her travel and accommodation expenses (1100€) and also a financial contribution to the humanitarian development project. (600€).
within a history...
In 1933, Mr Micheal B. Duraisamy, Bishop of Salem (Tamil Nadu - Southern India), informed Jospeh Houyoux and Matthieu de Tillesse of his project to build some small houses. After a trip to India, the idea to bring ICHEC students into the project was born. The project received an enthusiastic and warm welcome from the students. The experience really started that year and 16 houses were built with the first 13 pioneer students.
Since then the experience has been repeated with the same enthusiasm year after year and the number of projects is steadily increasing.
Since 1993, in India, 814 students have contributed to financing building 674 houses and several community buildings (schools, day-care centers, and a health center).
In 1999 and 2000, 38 participants went to Peru, where they financed and helped to build 2 community centers, a soccer field and drainage network.
In 2001, the project started in Burkina Faso thanks to a partnership between the Belgian NGO Défi Belgique Afrique and the ICHEC Housing Project. Since then Burkina Faso has welcomed 130 students, who have contributed 62.200€ to finance the building of micro-dams and boring wells, and have participated in planting 60.000 trees.
In 2012, Benin welcomed a new project: 14 students financed a food security project and took part in planting several thousand trees.
"This experience changed my vision of the world, because for the first time in my life, I was really faced with poverty. For the first time, I got the impression of helping someone, of doing something real, even if the people we helped gave us so much more in return."
"As a business student, I live in an economic environment where we always speak about money, profit, capitalism, etc… It was very interesting to “come down to earth” and face the reality of our world, to see that the profit of some people may damage the situation of many, that we are not alone on earth and that we have to respect it, as well as the people."
"How could we avoid exclaiming “1.700 euros !!! “ when we heard about the amount to be collected? This challenge, which at first I didn’t find interesting, turned out soon to be a very enriching one. Indeed, I learned to present a project to my neighborhood and even to complete strangers. Above all I learned not to get discouraged and give up the project for financial reasons, before trying."