Syrian ‘SRV car’ makes people happy at the azc in Budel

Mohammed Alrashed’s van is one of the weapons of the asylum seekers center in Budel to reduce the nuisance in the area. Mohammed comes three times a week with his ‘SRV car’ to provide the residents with fresh food. The hope is that this will reduce the number of people walking to the village for groceries.

It has been quiet at the azc in Budel lately. At least, that is what environment manager Bert Scholtes thinks. “Obviously things happen sometimes, that is unavoidable. We hope that fewer people will go to the village if they can simply do their shopping at the AZC. Hopefully it will then be easier to identify and deal with troublemakers.”

Scholtes is under no illusions. “People who want to steal will steal. Or people who want to cause a nuisance will continue to do so. Mohammed’s shopping cart will not be able to prevent that.”

In a month and a half, Scholtes wants to evaluate with the contacts in the area whether there is anything wrong. The area around the azc in Budel has had enough of the nuisance of recent years. Last year, the asylum seekers’ center regularly made the news negatively after a series of stabbings. The Cranendonck city council wants the AZC to close in 2024.

“People really like that I’m here.”

Mohammed hopes that his van full of Arab products will make people at the AZC happy. “People really like that I’m here,” he says. Mohammed himself also fled Syria, but he never stayed in Budel. “I’ve been to seven places before I ended up in my house in Weert,” he looks back.

Mohammed has a shop in Arab products there. “But not enough Arab people live in Weert, so I am very happy to be here. That way I can also make ends meet for my children.”

So Mohammed is doing good business at the AZC. He actually wanted a permit for a shop outside the doors, but that was not allowed. “Now I can be on the site, we hope that we will soon be able to come five days a week.”

“Normally we have to walk seven kilometers to the village”

One of his customers, Ahmed from Syria, is happy with the van. “Normally we have to walk seven kilometers to the village. I really like that I can now do my shopping here.” It’s busy at the van. “That’s because of the Friday afternoon prayer,” says Mohammed. “People immediately come here after that.”

Mohammed also tries to offer some support to his customers, who often still have to wait in the procedures. “I always say, learn the Dutch language. That’s really so important. Everything starts with that.”

His customers are mainly from Syria. Looking for something from home that they can’t get in the Dutch supermarket. Mohammed’s bread and rice are popular products. Most residents don’t like Dutch bread very much, so Mohammed’s bread is Arabic. “The rice is also different,” he says. “When we make chicken with rice, we use special rice. People like that they can get that here.”