Work, school … How do we in Nice handle the flow of refugees, which mainly consists of women and children

“We have to go back to the Kosovo war in the late 1990s to find such large refugee flows,” says Jean Stellittano. The Secretary-General of the Secours populaire des Alpes-Maritimes is witnessing this: Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, “between 10 and 12 families” have been knocking on the door of this single association “every day”. The department is actually one of those that, according to the prefecture of France, welcomes the most Ukrainians since February 24th. By May 4, it had already issued 5,662 temporary residence permits. Has an overwhelming majority of women and children unlike previous waves of refugees.

According to government services, they would represent 50% of the people received in the Alpes-Maritimes. Minors would be 30%. And men 20% therefore. Demographic characteristics to be taken into account in order to organize this temporary protection afforded by France.

Single women with “vulnerable” children

According to the latest census, this Thursday, from the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), more than 5.4 million Ukrainians have fled their country, of which only 10% are men, aged 18 to 60, who are likely to be mobilized, do not have the right to leave. “The proportion of single women and children accepted is much higher than in other refugee waves,” confirms Jean Stellittano. And it is a particularly vulnerable public ”. The risk? May the wave of solidarity that followed the outbreak of war also carry with it certain bad intentions.

“Particular attention has been paid to the administration of the citizen housing that has been offered,” says the head of Secours populaire further. About especially the voluntary work of single men. At present, there would be nothing to report from this point of view. I know some families have changed homes along the way, but not for serious problems. »

Organized excursions, meetings … The important thing is, above all, to socialize these people quickly, “although most of them want to return to Ukraine as soon as possible”. So they do not become isolated, he adds.

Schools involved for children

The Nice Academy is the one that supports the largest number of Ukrainian children in France. At the end of April, there were more than 1,200 in institutions, especially elementary ones, in the Alpes-Maritimes and Var, the rectorate specifies. “At the college and high school level, many prefer to take distance learning courses,” a spokesman said. In any case, an unprecedented support that led to the creation of new UPE2A classes. In these educational units for incoming allophonic students, teachers note “high levels of mathematics in particular” and “an ability to adapt quickly”, we still say on the rector’s side.

Among adults, the desire to learn French is also significant. “We give a lot of lessons, people are in high demand,” confirms Christine Jomat, from Secours Catholique in Cannes. Also in Nice, the town hall has created special classes. Since March 21, they have been frequented by 200 refugees, the vast majority of whom are women, on average every day according to the municipality.

“Authorized” work for adults “in demand”

The Ministry of Labor clarifies on its website: The temporary protection that France provides to displaced persons from Ukraine “in particular allows them to pursue a professional activity”. “The difference is there with migrants from other countries. If you hire a paperless person, you can be prosecuted, ”remembers another member of the association. “The demand from refugees from Ukraine for work is significant, but it is also associated with learning French,” continues Christine Jomat in Cannes, where profiles are often redirected to the hotel industry in particular.

On April 7, the city of Nice organized “a day to facilitate the employment of refugees in sectors struggling to recruit”. Including again tourism. This meeting mobilized 600 people and generated more than 200 job offers.

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