Cocktail, a buddy-project from COC, brings lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) asylum seekers in touch with Dutch LGBTIs. Cocktail wants to help reduce the isolation that LGBTI newcomers might feel in their community and introduce them into the Dutch society in a safe way.
You can sign up for the buddy-project by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org , stating your name and address.
As a buddy you will participate in social activities on a regular basis with LGBTI asylum seekers. You are a listening ear to your buddy, you and your buddy can drink a cup of coffee, go on a walk together or go into town. Being a buddy will have you occupied for at least four hours a month and you commit for a longer period of several months to two years.
The buddy-project is executed by COC associations throughout the Netherlands. Some COC associations are still looking for volunteers who want to start and / or coordinate the project in their region. If you want to play an organizational role, please say so in your email.
We are looking for socially skilled, honest people who speak English and / or speak another native language and can respectfully deal with cultural differences. To guarantee the necessary integrity and quality, a Cocktail volunteer is screened carefully regarding motivation, suitability and trustworthiness. Courses and lectures are offered to the volunteers to improve their competence. Cocktail buddies don’t offer legal, medical, mental or financial help. If needed, the newcomer will be referred to professional organizations. Some buddy-projects require a Certificate of Conduct (Verklaring Omtrent het Gedrag, VOG).
What is Cocktail?
Cocktail is a social network developed by COC for LGBTI (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual Transgender and Intersex) asylum seekers, refugees, and newcomers.
Being a buddy
As a buddy you will participate in social activities on a regular basis with LGBTI asylum seekers. You are a listening ear, drink a cup of coffee, go on a walk together or go into town. You help introduce them to the Dutch LGBTI-community.
How much time will I be occupied with the Buddy-contact?
Being a buddy will have you occupied for at least four hours a month and you commit for a longer period of several months to two years. How much time you’ll exactly need for the project, depends on the person. You and your buddy can decide together how often you meet and when. So you can also decide for yourself if the times you and your buddy meet are going to be scheduled times or not.
The requirements to be a volunteer
From future volunteers, we ask that you can meet up to the following requierements:
- You have an affinity with the target group;
- You are familiar with LGBTI-organisations and activities;
- You are social and like to interact with people;
- You are confident;
- You are profound: —;
- You are able to respectfully deal with cultural differences and other values;
- You speak English and/or another second language;
- Some buddy-projects require a certificate of good conduct (Verklaring Omtrent het Gedrag – VOG).
How can I become a Cocktail-volunteer?
You can sign up to be a volunteer by sending an email to email@example.com (stating your name and address) or by contacting the coordinator of the buddy-project of a COC in your area. An intake interview will take place, and if this goes well, you will be aible to become a volunteer.
Cocktail organizes buddy-contact between an LGBTI newcomer and a Cocktail volunteer.
- After an initial interview Cocktail tries to find a suitable buddy, considering both the language and wishes of the newcomer. Sometimes, it can take a while to find a match.
- If a match has been found, a first appointment will be made. At this appointment, the coordinator will be present to introduce you to one another.
- If there is a ‘click’ between the buddy and the newcomer, they can make arrangements about the activities that they want to do together, when and where etc.
What if I don’t like the buddy-project?
It can happen that there’s no click between you and your buddy. Both you and the newcomer can let the coordinator know that there’s no click. If the decision is made to end the buddy-contact, you can decide in consultation with the coordinator to find a new match.
What are the expectations of the newcomers?
The participants in the buddy-project know that that only social contact is offered in the project. When a newcomer signs up for the buddy-project, an intake interview will take place. During this interview it will be known why the newcomer is signing up for the project, the coordinator will let the newcomer know what the project is all about and what it’s not about.
What about finances?
Being a buddy is voluntarily and you will not receive financiel compensation for this. Some buddy-projects have small amounts of money available for travel expenses or for costs the newcomer makes, for example: drinks. Ask the coordinator of the project in your area if fees are available.
Asylum seekers live on a small allowance and have little money to spend. Keep this in mind while planning activities.
How should I handle any possible problems?
It can happen that you encounter various problems in the buddy-project. For example, a difficult running asylum procedure, trauma or cultural differences. You can discuss this with your coordinator or other volunteers in the buddy-project. The coordinator can give you more information on possible trainings.