Skip to main content
An initiative of Logo Howest
" Thanks to your donation, stories about loneliness become visible"

Vulnerable Groups Tell Stories about Loneliness

According to experts, loneliness is an epidemic, an ailment that, regardless of the psychological distress it causes, is just as injurious to health as smoking or obesity. It affects both the elderly as well as other vulnerable groups, such as newcomers, psychologically vulnerable people and LGBTQs (lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgenders, queers). The effects can cause long-term harm.

At present, there is a lot of knowledge available about loneliness and quite a few cities, towns and social organizations take initiatives. Committing to customization, focusing on increasing self-esteem and involving the social network of individuals appear to be a few of the requirements to effectively approach the problem. Yet, concrete techniques are lacking to work with the elderly in an empowering way through the social network.

With the 'Krachtnet' initiative, Howest offers tools to both formal and informal aid workers to get started and to counteract or reduce feelings of loneliness. In the past period, Krachtnet focused on the elderly, but many other people who are living in vulnerable situations also experience loneliness and social isolation.

Eenzame verhalen

Your support

Project 'Lonely stories revealed'

Thanks to your support, the stories about loneliness experienced by newcomers, psychologically vulnerable people and LGBTQs have a platform. By offering the stories a platform, the general population, and more specifically aid workers and caregivers, will be able to better empathize with the situation of the persons involved. To this end a collaboration will be set up with, among others, FMDO, SamenDivers, Diversiteitsdienst Stad Brugge, Çavaria, and the Regenbooghuis from West Flanders. With the project 'Lonely Stories Revealed’ we put the stories of a number of individuals living in specifically vulnerable groups in the spotlight in order to:

  • sensitize the (West Flemish) population on this subject by means of a travelling exhibition and discussion evenings
  • create a website in which the stories are collected in a creative way (personas, short films,...)
  • train formal and informal aid workers to work on and with the topic of loneliness.

Students from the Howest bachelor study programme in Social Work and the Howest postgraduate study programme Migration & Refugees interview the people concerned and represent the stories in a creative way. The Krachtnet project leader integrates these stories in the workshops given to aid workers and caregivers.

Questions? Contact Chris Mestdagh from the Howest bachelor programme Social Work -


Target amount:
Project manager:
Chris Mestdagh
Programme manager/ department manager:
Social Work


Five projects at the start of the Howest Foundation!

The first five national and international projects of Howest programmes and services present their actions and activities on the platform of the Howest Foundation.

Read more