"Momenteel ben ik het niet waard om vader te zijn" - een kwalitatief onderzoek naar de perspectieven over opvoeding en vaderschap van vluchtelingenvaders in open asielcentra

Leni Linthout
Migratie en opvoeding zijn onlosmakelijk verbonden. In onderzoek en in vormgeving van
praktijk en asiel- en gezinsbeleid zien we echter dat stemmen van vaders op de vlucht, in
verhouding met die van moeders, onderbelicht blijven. Deze scriptie tracht hier verandering in
te brengen door een stem te geven aan vluchtelingenvaders in asielcentra, een complexe
context gekenmerkt door onzekerheid, tijdelijkheid en collectiviteit.

"Hier zijn we niet echt 100% ouder" - We moeten luisteren naar alle vaders

We moeten luisteren naar alle vaders.

“HIER ZIJN WE NIET ECHT 100% OUDER”

Een kind opvoeden is voor alle ouders een avontuur en gaat gepaard met verschillende uitdagingen. In vergelijking met moeders nemen mannen in praktijk, onderzoek en beleid over opvoeding een gemarginaliseerde positie in. Willen we vaders meer betrekken in opvoeding en hen als evenwaardige opvoeders erkennen, dienen we echter te luisteren naar alle vaders, ook naar hen die in eerste instantie niet op hun identiteit als vader worden aangesproken. Vluchtelingen zijn hier één voorbeeld van. “Vaak wordt niet verder gekeken dan hun identiteit als ‘vluchteling’. Ze zijn echter zoveel meer”, vertelt Leni Linthout in haar masterproef. Ze reisde Vlaanderen door en ging in verschillende opvangcentra in gesprek met zo’n twintig vaders op de vlucht die hier met hun kinderen verblijven.

Door dreiging van oorlog, geweld, politieke instabiliteit en armoede en de gevolgen van foltering, trauma en uitbuiting dragen gezinnen op de vlucht een zware rugzak met zich mee. Vluchtelingenouders in hun opvoedingspraktijken ondersteunen heeft een positieve impact op hun gezin alsook op het mentale welzijn van hun kinderen. Hierbij is het echter van belang dat alle gezinsleden, eveneens vaders, de juiste ondersteuning krijgen.

In 2013 maakten vluchtelingengezinnen zo’n tien procent uit van de asielaanvragen. In 2016 verdubbelde dit aantal naar 22%. Eens aangekomen in België vormt voor duizenden gezinnen een opvangcentrum een alledaagse realiteit. Deze omgeving heeft een impact op het leven van vaders, moeders en kinderen.

Wat de pot en de regels schaffen

Salim* is alleenstaande vader van twee kinderen. Sinds vijf maanden verblijft hij met zijn beide kinderen in een opvangcentrum. Na een zware tocht doorheen Europa biedt het opvangcentrum voor hem en de kinderen een plek om tot rust te komen. “Ik ben dankbaar voor alles wat we hier krijgen”, vertelt Salim. Doorheen zijn verhaal haalt hij echter meerdere obstakels aan die hem bemoeilijken in de opvoeding.

Zoals veel andere vaders ervaart Salim het gebrek aan kookmogelijkheid als één van de grootste uitdagingen in de opvoeding. Afhankelijk van de organisatie van elk opvangcentrum moeten vaders ofwel zelf koken met financiële ondersteuning en met een – vaak beperkte – kookinfrastructuur, ofwel maken ze gebruik van aangeboden maaltijden in een gemeenschappelijk restaurant. Dit laatste geval ervaren veel vaders als een verlies aan autonomie om zélf te beslissen over wat, wanneer en hoeveel ze koken voor hun kinderen. Zelf koken vinden de vaders daartegenover ondersteunend in de opvoeding.  

“Wat betreft de keuze van een school voor mijn kinderen heeft het opvangcentrum een systeem. We hebben daar weinig inbreng in”, gaat de vader verder. Hetzelfde geldt eveneens voor sport- en vrijetijdsmogelijkheden.

“Een beperkte keuzevrijheid is één van de rode draden doorheen de bevindingen van mijn onderzoek”, geeft Linthout aan. “Een strikte regelgeving, een opgelegde tijdsindeling en een vaste ruimtelijke vormgeving van het opvangcentrum zorgen voor een structurering van het gezinsleven. Vaders verliezen hierdoor de controle over de opvoeding”, gaat de onderzoekster verder. “Door het verlies aan controle […] zijn we hier niet echt 100% ouder”, getuigt Salim. “Dergelijk verlies van autonomie en controle is reeds op alle domeinen van het leven reeds inherent aanwezig in het leven van vluchtelingen en in de onzekerheid van de uitkomst van hun asielprocedure”, stellen professor Derluyn en professor Broekaert van de UGent.

Zelfstandig leven?

Als alleenstaande vader ervaart Salim de verantwoordelijkheid die hij moet dragen als een beproeving: “momenteel heb ik de taak van de vader én de moeder”. Veel vaders zien het opvangcentrum daarenboven als een onveilige plek voor de kinderen. Ook Salim is hierdoor “voortdurend aandachtig voor de kinderen”.

Opvoedingstaken die voor veel vaders vanzelfsprekend zijn, denk maar aan eten klaarmaken of een veilige speelomgeving voorzien voor de kinderen komen in een opvangcentrum onder druk te staan. “Daartegenover staat dat vaders echter voortdurend geconfronteerd worden met en gewezen worden op hun verantwoordelijkheid ten aanzien van de kinderen: ze naar school brengen, aanwezig zijn op de huiswerkbegeleiding, hen voortdurend in de gaten houden, etc.”, toont de onderzoekster aan. “Deze spanning tussen individuele verantwoordelijkheid van vaders enerzijds en afhankelijkheid van het opvangcentrum anderzijds plaats vaders in een bijzonder complexe en uitdagende situatie”, concludeert Linthout. “Naar vaders luisteren en hen inspraak geven in de keuzes die de opvoeding aanbelangen, is een noodzakelijke stap in de ondersteuning van gezinnen op de vlucht”, aldus de onderzoeker.

Superdaddy

Ondanks alle uitdagingen waar hij en andere vaders in het asielcentrum mee geconfronteerd worden, komen de kinderen onvoorwaardelijk op de eerste plaats. “Vaderschap lijkt hen te versterken en stelt hen in staat veerkrachtig en succesvol om te gaan met nieuwe uitdagingen”, besluit Linthout in haar masterproef.

"Naast 'vluchteling' zijn ze zoveel meer. Ze zijn ook 'vader', 'partner', 'man', etc."

*pseudoniem omwille van ethische overwegingen

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Universiteit of Hogeschool
Master in Sociaal Werk en Sociale Pedagogiek
Publicatiejaar
2019
Promotor(en)
Prof. Dr. Ilse Derluyn
Kernwoorden
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