In 1958, following meetings with Christians and homeless people, two priests and one couple set up the La Poudriere community project in a deprived area of Brussels, around the Ninove city gate.
With the simple goal of “being present” and seeking out misfortune and friendship, from the very beginning each day was shared, meaning that the usual concept of charity and “working for” was replaced by a new form of solidarity: “working with”.
The project has been in operation ever since, allowing those in difficult situations to share their lives with those who are not. This happens through shared meals and work, and living in the same place but with private spaces.
Radical sharing. Through sharing our income, our abilities and our time, we can welcome and help others.
Through sharing, the community demonstrates that things do not exist to be stored, accumulated or wasted, but distributed, shared and used to help each of us meet our needs. Sharing is a viable initiative and private property is not essential.
Around 50 people of various faiths (practicing or not), agnostics or atheists, or from different traditions.
Men and women, single or in couples, with or without children.
Younger or older.
People from all continents, migrants or those in exile, those seeking something.
A great variety of cultures, social backgrounds, standards of living and abilities.
Some have chosen to come and live here, while others were looking for a roof over their heads, food, comfort, company or meaning to their life.
Alongside those who share their daily lives, there are two paid employees and around 40 volunteers. We also collaborate with the network of Emmaus resources.
First and foremost, the community is about sharing our daily lives.
Every day we build on our friendships and strengthen our community with the key goal of living together in spite of our differences, aware of our limits but wholehearted in our solidarity.
There have been several reports on the project, the latest of which was as part of a documentary about money: a short film during the programme “People change” (Les gens changent) featuring Sangeeta, a member of the community, explaining our choice to live together with a simple way of life (from 18:50 in this episode): http://notele.be/list23-alors-on-change-media46617-penser-l-argent-autrement.html