Perceived successes and strengths

The experiment seems to us to have been a success on several points, as it allowed :

From the perspective of the COS project team

  • To enlighten the refugees on their professional choices and their project in France, on whether or not to engage in this sector, to discover the constraints beyond the passion, to provide them with a maximum of information to help them decide.
  • Some people (albeit few) have gone all the way and are continuing on their way; others have changed their project and chosen something else more suited to their needs at the time, with full knowledge of the facts.
  • To discover very committed peer helpers and people to whom refugees can turn for help.

identify themselves.

  • A certain chemistry between some refugees and other actors, which led to the opening of doors
  • Mobilisation of actors, creation of new partnerships that can be useful to refugees
  • The appropriation of the concept of peer support within the Integration Unit of the COS Foundation and the

the prospect of developing it as a method of support

  • To create a project dynamic within the team

 

“We can really see the difference with a peer helper or not, in the workshops we run: he is in a role where he “authorises”, doesn’t bring the same thing at all (he asks questions, calms down, it’s much less top-down”.

“It completes the speech given by the professional because we have not experienced this journey, we give technical information; it has a function of encouragement, by telling them “you see I have been there“.

 

“One of the highlights was the exchange with the infa, the restaurant owners and peer carers; we had round tables where each group exchanged views with a speaker, which was very rich.

 

The assessment carried out following the 3 collective sessions bringing together all the actors lists the strong points of the meeting

  • Collective energy Ability of peer helpers to talk about their project, to retrace their journey for some
  • Strong involvement of peer helpers and newcomers
  • Effort and complementarity
  • Nice mix between professionals and peer helpers between technical knowledge and practical experience
  • Consistency in the work of IPCs/Coordinator/Project Leader
  • Trust between team members and participants
  • Peer helpers, partners and the project team had a good understanding of the project, which allowed for complementary interventions by the partners, even if there was not necessarily a precise framework
  • Feedback from two refugees who were happy to have met professionals, to have understood the world of cooking, jobs, training and the interest of the meeting.
  • Great plurality of profiles of newcomers: richness on the sharing of paths, the sharing of an example of a newcomer who became a peer helper
  • The dynamics of putting peer helpers in the position of professionals

From the partners' point of view

  • Enrichment through human encounters
  • Interesting contacts and meetings
  • Identify the actors
  • To learn more about the COS Foundation

 

“It allowed me to identify a refugee more quickly for employment.

“There were some very funny and tender moments, some connections. I’m very happy to have participated in that’.

From the perspective of peer helpers

  • Clarity of information for refugees through interpreters and peers who explain more simply
  • Taking into account cultural differences through the intercultural mediator
  • The network built with the training centre: “it makes a support system for refugees, even if it takes time“.
  • Some refugees have entered the world of work
  • The emotion of an accompanied refugee, touched by the listening and interest of the other participants for its course, which gives confidence
  • Valuation through the Erasmus certificate is also mentioned

From the refugees' perspective

 

  • Open-mindedness, knowledge and awareness of how things are done in France
  • The awareness that the pathway may take time, evolve (this is both a hope but for others too far in the future for the primary needs of the moment)
  • The hope
  • The simpler explanations than those provided by the advisors
  • The many meetings (various speakers and people from other countries)

“Refugees have already been through this, they explain more simply for us in relation to the advisors”.

“It’s not just the peer helper, what helped me was the meeting with everyone and all the

information’.

“It’s a good experience.

“For newcomers to France it is very good

“I learned a lot of things, drawing the right strategy to have in any field

“Everything was perfect, even if I changed my project

“If I hadn’t done that I would have stayed with that programme in my head; it showed that it was

It’s not as easy as I thought: you have to have experience etc. It’s very difficult.

“I had quite a few experiences, ( refugee food festival), it went very well, but 2 years was too long, I have two children.

 

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