A decisive back-to-school for many young refugees

Monday 14 September 2020

School starts tomorrow. For many young refugees and migrants, it will be an important stage in their lives, one that will determine the rest of their lives.

This is the case for Siaka, a 20-year-old Ivorian who has been in Luxembourg for three years. He has finally found a place as an apprentice in the field of mechanics.

I've been looking for three years. In the meantime, I enrolled in the courses offered by the CNFPC and did a whole series of internships in the field. I also tried an apprenticeship in the hotel industry, but without conviction, simply because there were more places available. But when you are not passionate about it, it is difficult to go all the way. This year, I sent more than a hundred applications and I started even earlier than in previous years. Only one employer replied to me. I think it was the internships I did that convinced him. I'm very happy. It's a dream come true. Now I will do everything to live up to his expectations.

Unlike Siaka, Anas, a 25-year-old Syrian, has not found a place as an apprentice in the field he wanted - sewing - and in which he already has a great experience, which is difficult to valorise in Luxembourg :

At the new school year, I'm going to do an apprenticeship in the hotel business. It wasn't my first choice. In fact, I've been looking for an apprenticeship in the sewing industry for a long time. In Syria, I worked in my father's sewing workshop. The know-how is passed on from father to son. Here, I am told that if I want to open a sewing workshop, I must have a diploma. But it's difficult. The sewing market is very small in Luxembourg. I have sent applications everywhere. I'm launching a final call, if not, so much the worse. Maybe I'll like the hotel business as well. Everyone says that I cook well and, it's true, I like it.

As for Mohammed, a 25-year-old Syrian, he still has to wait to start looking for a boss.

My dream is to become an educator. I like working with children. As soon as I can, I do internships in the field. If I want to become an educator, I have to pass the 5th year of integration for adults first. Then, next year, if I'm lucky, I'll try to work and study as an educator at the same time. It will be very difficult, but it is important that I work. I have a family to look after.

Nizar, Syrian, 25, is still in great uncertainty and has many questions.

I don't know yet what I am going to do. I have enrolled in the 5th grade integration class for adults, but I don't think they will take me. My level of French is not good enough. It's difficult to concentrate on language learning when you have so many other worries. In case they don't take me, I will follow the language courses offered by the Institut National des Langues and continue to improve my French.

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