Every year, social workers at the Aube departmental children’s centre provide support to 150 unaccompanied minors and young adults.
Not all of them obtain a residence permit. This was the case for 90 young people at the beginning of the year.
In order to help them overcome this situation, they were invited to an awareness-raising session regarding reintegration assistance programmes, presented by the territorial directorate in Reims in direct contact with the OFII representation in Mali.
At the Aube departmental children’s centre, around forty young people attended this session, in video-conference with OFII in Mali, in several stages
- Information on return and reintegration assistance by the Directorate in Reims
None of the young people knew about assisted voluntary return or reintegration assistance, organised and funded by the OFII. These two programmes were also presented by the OFII director in Reims.
Within the framework of voluntary return, intended for holders of an obligation to leave French territory (OQTF), the OFII is responsible for the return to the country of origin, by covering travel expenses and providing a financial and administrative support to organise the travel.
In addition to assisted voluntary return depending on the situation of the person concerned, the OFII can grant reintegration assistance divided in 3 levels: social reintegration, employment and vocational training and business creation
- Video projection of testimonies including one from M’Pa Soukoun
Upon his arrival in France as an unaccompanied minor, M’Pa Soukoun coming from Mali, completed trainings in painting and baking. However after spending a few years in France as an illegal immigrants, without a residence permit, he fell into depression. His uncle with whom he kept in touch back in Mali, worried about his nephew’s health condition urged him to contact the OFII in Reims to obtain assisted return.
After listening to OFII’s and his uncle’s advice and, he decided to return to Mali in 2020. Today he does not regret at all his return. First, the OFII covered the cost of the plane ticket and helped with medical costs. Secondly, the OFII agreed to fund his clothing business project. Before that, M’Pa Soukoun was trained alongside his brother who stayed in Mali and managed a shop.
- Presentation of the OFII in Mali
The OFII representation in Mali covers not only Mali but also Benin, Burkina Faso, Ivory Cost, Guinea and Togo. The director of the representation in Mali and the coordinator in charge of reintegration presented the profiles of the beneficiaries and the schemes implemented in these countries.
- Time for exchanges between the young people and OFII representatives in Reims and Mali
Interventions led to lively and dynamic discussions, young people shared their reluctance mentioning also the difficulty of the migratory journey. However, some of them did not rule out the possibility to return, knowing that they can be supported for a project on site allows them to project themselves in their country of origin.
At the end of the session, discussions were led with Aube prefecture’s representatives.
This videoconference exchange system will be renewed each year with the Aube departmental children’s centre