Laudato Si': where vulnerable people and second-hand items find new life

Socio-ecological inclusion at the periphery of Antwerp

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. This are the three essential components of Laudato Si’:  the innovative socio-ecological initiative promoted by Sant’Egidio in the outskirt of Antwerpen (Linkeroever). A second-hand shop that, while providing employment for those in need, it focuses on both the environment and community building.

In Laudato Si' second-hand clothing and items are collected, sorted and offered for sale at favorable prices. Moreover, a number of additional services are available upon request, such as: sewing & repair and moving support. There is also a cozy coffee-corner where local residents from different backgrounds are very welcome to enjoy.

During the opening session, the keynote speakers said:

Johan Bonny - Bishop of Antwerp: “this project builds bridges between old and new, between city and periphery, between rich and poor and between the Church and society”

Hilde Kieboom - Vice President of Sant’Egidio: “Every person, even those who are less productive on the labor market, have a talent. With the fantasy of love we want show this, so that no human potential has to be lost”

Johan De Tavernier - Dean of the faculty of Theology and Religious Studies of the Catholic University of Louvain: “There is an ecological conversion arising within the Church, as we read in the encyclical 'Laudato Si' by Pope Francis, to which this project is named after”

Josse Van Steenberge - former rector of the University of Antwerp: “Every citizen the right to work, everyone can mean something for society”

Dirk De Wachter - Psychiatrist: "These kinds of initiatives keep the world going. The salvation of the world comes from bottom-up initiatives that carry the world, from the small goodness of humble people, from small, concrete acts of mercy"