residents of Marseille slums face many obstacles despite an integration plan

A year ago, the State launched a major professional integration program for the populations of the slums of Marseille. A year later, the situation has not changed much.


Reading time: 2 min

The shantytown, located on the edge of the A7 in the 15th arrondissement of Marseille, accommodates a family of 10 people.  (YVAN PLANTEY / RADIO FRANCE)

In the 15th arrondissement of Marseille, two shanty towns border the highway A7 on each side. It is impossible to enter the first, and the second, about thirty meters long, is located in a small valley. Wooden plates fixed together serve as walls and the sheet metal acts as a ceiling. A water point has been drawn up right next to it, but what strikes you as soon as you enter the shantytown is a very strong smell of burning plastic.

A family of ten lives there, including a man. Arriving in France eight years ago, he had difficulty learning French, a real obstacle to finding a job. “I asked Pôle Emploi, but for all jobs, you need to know how to write French”, he gets annoyed. To feed his family, he collects shoes and clothes, “in the trash”which he will then sell at flea markets for “a few euros“. On the other side of the road, a local resident, who has lived here for 15 years old, and who has always experienced this situation. “It hurts me. They are nice, they never hurt us.” she confides.

Confronting persistent prejudices about Roma

This situation is not isolated: nearly a thousand people in total live in 30 shanty towns spread across the Phocaean capital. The vast majority are Roma from Eastern Europe, from Romania and Bulgaria. For a year, the State has been trying to get these populations out of their unsanitary habitats, with a professional integration program launched on 1st January 2023. But there is still much to do to put an end to these unsanitary habitats.

Because in addition to the French language, the other barrier remains clichés, which die hard. Colin managed to find training in construction, via the government’s integration program, but he is often confronted with stereotypes about Roma. “When I work, people point at me, they say ‘ah he’s a Romanian’, and it happens everywhere, people think we’re all the same when that’s not true”he sighs.

A total of a thousand people live in 30 slums spread across Marseille.  The vast majority are Roma from Eastern Europe, from Romania and Bulgaria.  (YVAN PLANTEY / RADIO FRANCE)

And before finding a job or training, other problems arise for slum dwellers, recalls Thibaut Guilluy, director general of France Travail, present in Marseille to present support solutions.

“They are faced with questions of training, learning or updating their French. And above all, they must also find a concrete solution to access housing.”

Thibaut Guilluy, Director General of France Travail

at franceinfo

But the first challenge still remains to find the people who live in these slums. Of the 900 people concerned in Marseille, only nearly one in ten have benefited from training over the past year.

source site-19