[EN] Promoting the socio-professional integration of exiled people in the Briançon area !

6 min readSep 19, 2022


During his hard and rich career, Oumar has had many experiences. He has crossed countries and cultures and he speaks 4 languages. Omar developed various skills, he built tables that he sold on the market with his uncle, he returned to the family land with his grandmother, he was a weaver in Turkey, a worker in the construction industry, and so many still others. Today, Omar is in France, he wants to work and earn a living.

Despite their resilience and the wealth of their knowledge, exiled people often lack, beyond the difficulties related to their administrative situations and the language barrier, trust, network, knowledge of job search mechanisms.

In December 2021, Low-tech with Refugees, one of the programmes run by the association EKO!, launched its social-professional integration scheme. This aims to support the integration of those displaced people wishing to settle down in and around Briançon. Despite the fact that these people all have rich and varied experiences and skills, they often lack the confidence, network, and skills necessary when searching for work (and that’s on top of several difficulties regarding their administrative/legal status and their ability to navigate the language barrier).

To read the article in French

The origin of the project

These actions follow a territorial diagnosis, carried out in 2018 after the establishment of Reception and Orientation Centers (CAO) and the installation of many exiled people in Briançonnais, highlighting a need for reception and accompaniment (accommodation, social integration, etc.). Unlike Marseille where the work carried out by Low-tech & Refugees focuses on the reinforcement of low-tech skills and reciprocal orientation due to the presence of many complementary actors (la Ruche, Singa, Kipawa etc.), the Briançon branch carries out real long-term support work that goes beyond technical skills. This diagnosis has also given rise to other projects in the area, such as that of Maison Bessoulie (social architecture project), whose residents are supported by this aspect of activity.

“The workshops and training organized by Low-tech & Refugees enhance and strengthen the technical skills of the participants, known as “hard skills”. But to succeed in your professional and social integration, it is also a question of having a clear professional project, of being accompanied on your objectives and of knowing the codes. Hence the meaning of offering complementary activities in the Briançonnais that strengthen their “soft skills”.

Marjolaine Bert, founder of the project

With a history that promotes the sharing of know-how and a network of professionals committed to environmentally friendly professions, Low-tech & Refugees offers quality support for people wishing to settle in the area. This support, supported by funding from the Abbé Pierre Foundation, prepares for employment and will help people find a job as soon as they are finally authorized to work in France.

Objectives and support methodology

Overall, this support is based on a course lasting a maximum of 6 months:

  1. Individual interviews, which make it possible to personalize the support;
  2. Collective workshops, to strengthen the power to act of the people accompanied;
  3. Professional immersions, to discover trades and meet professionals.
    An overview of activities

An overview of activities

To discover these accompanying activities in image (and music!)

Since January 2022, the Low-tech & Refugees program has supported around twenty people with more or less long follow-up depending on the needs of each.

As part of these new activities, Low-tech & Refugees carried out 90 individual interviews, 10 collective workshops and 13 professional immersions.

This individualized support, where the person is at the heart, cultivates his autonomy in order to make him an actor of his insertion.

“ With Dorothée, I have learnt a lot of this about my rights […] the CVs as well are good, they prepare us for work.”

Tadesse* (translated)

As far as professional immersions are concerned, Low-tech with Refugees propose a range of discovery days to learn about different trades that are respectful of the environment: permaculture, traditional mushroom culture, woodwork, bike repair… Moreover, for those who have expressed an interest in a specific trade, the association organises longer immersions alongside regional professionals. As such, Beza*. has completed placement in a vegan restaurant, Oumar* has become a regular supervisor with a bike repair association, and Tadesse* and Farid* have been involved in carpentry projects in workshops and construction sites.

“For six years I stayed at home and now I’m on placement and I’m learning French. EKO! the association is beautiful.”

Beza* (translated)

Beza* on placement at a restaurant.

<<[Beza]* is very delicate and professional in the kitchen. A very enriching and positive experience, with a very pleasant, involved and professional person.>>

A chef

In partnership with the Club Alpin Français (CAF), several people are also currently engaged in a project to create and install compost loos in some of the mountain refuges.

Tadesse*, Farid*, et Oumar*, on a carpentry placement: Project CAF.

The guidance offered by the association is centered on tight coordination with our varying partners (including MAPEmonde, Refuge Solidaire and Maison Bessoulie), therefore allowing a support which is global and coherent, closer to those involved.

“The actions of Low-tech with Refugees have been able to propose a range of professional immersions and share know-how aligning with our residents’ professionnel projects and their desire to integrate into the region.”

Alice*, Project coordinator at the Maison Bessoulie (translated) -

The impact

After six months of experimentation, Low-tech with Refugees have recently finished assessing the programme and sketching out ideas for its future, with a focus on integrating more people and better responding to their needs. The association has therefore decided to be extra flexible regarding the criterias of enrolment, opening our doors to all exiles, refugees, and displaced people regardless of their legal status (if those available government schemes are ineffective) and to adapt the methods of support, offering a program which is shorter and more punctual.

To do this, we invisage:

  • To open the program to people who are either francophone or anglophone, living in the Briançon region
  • To offer professionelle support for set and timely needs (make a CV, prepare for an interview, find a placement, etc)
  • To eventually run regular collective workshops (on the rights to work and local opportunities, creating a CV and a letter of motivation, contacting employers and job interviews…)

“During the last six months, throughout which I have been contributing to the charity’s integration efforts, I have noticed those people I key-work become more confident and harbor more self-affirmative ideas. They are now autonomous in their integration and have all started to weave their own links with local professionals. It has been a true pleasure to develop such special relationships with all those involved in the scheme.”

Faye, volunteer service civique

All names marked with an asterisk are pseudonyms used in order to protect the identity of persons involved.

And you?

These activities are open to everyone and regardless of administrative status, do not hesitate to contact us to find out more for you or an exiled friend: insertion@asso-eko.org — 06 52 46 97 40

You have a manual and environmentally friendly job and want to share your passion, let us know!

insertion@asso-eko.org — 06 52 46 97 40

You have time and want to share or develop skills, do not hesitate to apply for an offer of employment, volunteering or volunteering!

Apply online: https://asso-eko.org/candidater/

Apply by email: hr@asso-eko.org

You have the means to contribute to the financing of these actions, do not hesitate to make a donation! it’s here or contact us at 07 83 91 59 52







Association of general interest which carries out positive and innovative projects in the fields of sustainable development and international solidarity.