When the social and solidarity economy solves the economic integration of migrants head-on

Pro-migrant initiatives are multiplying in the SUE. In addition to reception, first aid and accommodation, they are particularly interested in economic integration. It is symbolic that Benoît Amon, former Minister of Social and Solidarity Economy, a few months ago became the director of the non-governmental organization Singa, whose goal is to involve residents and refugees in the implementation of professional projects. Historic SSE players, such as the cooperative movement and Adi, have had such collective initiatives for a long time.

Correcting an injustice

For researcher Christel Bernard of Sciences Po Grenoble, it is not surprising to see such concerns from the sector, as “SSE associations and companies promote values ​​such as solidarity, reciprocity and social cohesion to right injustice. We see a revival of the movement, with the migration crisis of 2015. Of course, I had to worry about emergency admission and admission to the rights, and then a very quick integration. This is where SES structures come into play.” Thus, the researcher takes the example of the Emmaus Roya community, which opened in the footsteps of Cédric Herroux, a farmer arrested for helping migrants. Initially, it was about ensuring the protection of refugees arriving from the Italian border, and then the question of economic activity arose, with the creation of agricultural industries.

Supported by local authorities

For these purposes, SSE participants are also supported by local authorities. Thus, Christel Bernard gives another example of the Grenoble Metropolis, which, through a policy of helping migrants, commissioned local associations to develop their economic integration. Many other communities followed suit. Since last year, they have come together under Anvita, the national association of hospitable cities and territories.

Among them, the city of Paris also supports SSE in economic integration missions. Such is the case with the cooperative Langues plurielles, which offers many tools for learning French. “We help refugees and migrants at different stages of their journey,” explains Blanche Pichot de Chamfleury, Director of Scop. The city of Paris funds us for actions aimed at people who work and have a residence permit. Through the call to Refug projects, we also support asylum seekers. Finally, we have created a free application for people who are far from writing. The I’m Learning app was developed with the participation of the refugees themselves and already has several versions. “Learning French is vital for migrants,” adds Blanche Pichot de Chamfleurie. Plural languages ​​offers both professional French for those who work, and everyday French for residence permit validation, which requires a minimum level of French. »

Support for migrants in starting a business

Another Parisian association that finds the same audience as plural languages ​​in the northeast of Paris, Meltingcoop created the Migracoop project three years ago to help migrants set up their activities. They will have to test it for several months in ephemeral cooperatives. “We reach a predominantly female audience,” says Anna Murlak, founder of the Meltingcoop association. They participated in two cooperatives, one of which was engaged in cooking, and the other in sewing. During the cooperative period, they can develop economic activities through training. Interestingly, they find outlets after their transition, continuing in a restaurant or a sewing workshop. Collective entrepreneurship allows you to create solidarity and economic mutual assistance. The Migracoop project, supported by the city of Paris, the Crédit Coopératif foundation and the business and employment cooperative Coopaname, continues this year in the form of “express cooperatives” lasting ten days to identify migrant women willing to do business together. .

Microcredit for financing

Integration through small businesses has been Adi’s problem for thirty years. Every year, three hundred refugees see their project funded by a micro-loan from Adi, couriers, culinary-related businesses and small crafts. Eliot Ingeno, development manager, confirms that the solidarity finance operator has stepped up its work with migrants since 2015: “Like other SSE members, we are trying to respond to an injustice for an audience that has many barriers to integration: no capital, no diploma or equivalent in diplomas. , language barrier and lack of network. In their country of origin, wage labor is not the norm; Therefore, creating a business is a real solution. Since our microloans are guaranteed, our consultants are looking for people who could act as guarantors, or the agency issues a loan without a guarantee.” Thus, actions aimed at refugees are becoming more active. Since 2015, community leaders have begun offering funding to this audience and have asked integration members and SSEs to coordinate to help them.

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