Helping people survive and recover from forced displacement

MinistriesOpportunitiesRefugee Centre

Our Mission

We help asylum-seekers and refugees survive and recover from forced displacement.

In cooperation with the local association, Friends of Exiles, we offer a safe place for a holistic response to the needs of integration. We encourage supportive relationships between refugees, volunteers, and local associations. We love to reflect together with asylum seekers about their experiences, life goals and decisions as they prepare for the next stage of their epic journey. Our activities build resilience and strengthen faith.

We work especially with church communities in our aim to love God and the stranger and to show this in practical ways.

One of my aims in ministry is to come alongside of others and the greatest joy for me is when others see themselves in God’s love.” -Paul Sydnor, Lille Ministry Leader

Ministry Context

France is one of the top destinations in Europe for Asylum seekers. The number of applicants in France has doubled in the last several years, and a portion of these end up in Lille. The refugees and asylum seekers come from most every crisis area of the world, but a large number come from French-speaking countries.

Most of the people arriving in France have been on the asylum path for several years or more. A portion of these have already applied in other countries and been rejected. They have very few options.

The lack of infra-structure such as housing makes the asylum path especially difficult in France. Men, women and children are forced to rely on their own networks and local associations to help them to survive. The everyday needs increase their vulnerability and take a toll on personal and spiritual well-being.

Applying for asylum is a fulltime job, yet it also takes all my energy just to find where to sleep and eat each day, or how to stay dry and warm. I have no life left and I don’t know how much longer I can continue.”  –Asylum seeker from West Africa

Lille Refugee Centre

French language class in the Lille Centre

The ministry center has been open since March 2020. We regularly coordinate with asylum seekers to address their needs. We organize activities both inside and outside of the center to help with integration and emergency assistance.

We are open five days a week and specific activities include: language courses, computer and internet training, trauma healing groups, prayer times, and bible discussions, as well as food aid, cultural visits and soccer matches.

The center is based in a local church and offers a link between asylum-seeker communities and churches. It is a rare and safe place in which refugees, asylum seekers, volunteers and IAFR teammates can connect in ways that both encourage and benefit one another.

DONATE to the Lille Ministry

The annual ministry budget in Lille is $12,000. We invite you to partner with us. Click the button to give today. Your donation shows your solidarity with refugees and churches in Lille and it helps our friends recover from displacement and begin to rebuild their lives.


  • Hospitality & Visitation
  • Pastoral Care
  • Practical Assistance
  • The Lille Refugee Welcome Centre
  • Community Integration (in collaboration with local churches)
  • Computer Training

Needs & Opportunities

  • Long-term Service Opportunities
  • Lille Ministry Leader
  • Maintenance Coordinator
  • Welcome Centre Host
  • Resident Advisor (On-site Shelter Ministry)
  • Community Facilitator
  • Sports Director
  • Creative Arts Specialist(s) (music, dance, drama, art)
  • Youth Worker
  • Computer Trainer
  • Language Teacher
  • Cook
  • Story Teller (Photography, Videography, Graphic Design)
  • Short-term Service Opportunities
  • Renovation & Construction Teams
  • Organize & Lead a Sports Camp
  • Summer Camp Assistants
  • Creative Arts Workshop
  • Welcome Centre Intern

Inquire about service opportunities below.

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