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ACISE in Martinique, a true platform for reintegration

Martinique - Fort-de-France
Access to employment

The Association Citoyenne pour l’Insertion Solidaire et Économique (ACISE) now does more than “just” welcoming the homeless. It also works for their reintegration by setting up a sewing workshop, a second chance for people rebuilding their lives.

05/20/2010

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Created in 2002 by the municipality of Fort-de-France, ACISE already welcomed people in very difficult situations to its shelter and re-adaptation centre. “With an unemployment rate of more than 24% in Martinique, the social fabric is fragile. We intervene, above all, as an emergency social service system. And then we offer solutions,” explains Dominique-Edouard Lagier, the association’s director since 2003.

After the emergency, rebuild

The idea of the shop came when the organisation was looking for clean clothes for the homeless. ACISE rapidly moved beyond the idea of simple collection and developed a true social integration enterprise in Fort-de-France: collection, sorting, cleaning, repairs, even clothing creation, then redistribution and resale at low prices... Created three years ago, the Foyal workshop is a success. “The project has even been copied! Discussions are currently underway with the commune of Trois-Îlets to open a similar shop,” says Dominique-Edouard Lagier. Re-integration and recycling

The store has 19 employees, who receive inclusion income support (RSA, ‘revenu de solidarité active’) and are employed under back-to-work contracts lasting a minimum of two years. “These are wounded people, who have broken with so-called ‘normal’ life. The shop lets them regain confidence,” says Emilie Rendu, the workshop’s main monitor. All of them, most of whom are women, try a large number of professions... and sometimes discover unsuspected talents!

Tony Sotier, for example, landed at ACISE after treatment for addiction, at the age of 50. “After 20 years on the streets, I had a wonderful adventure at the ‘Boutik Foyal’ that lasted two years. It allowed me to work again, in line with my plans,” says Tony who now makes jewellery from seeds and sells it in market squares. “I learned how to get up in the morning, apply myself, and especially how to control myself...”

Narrow the social divide

Maurice Vallée, sector director with VINCI Park (VINCI Concessions) in Fort-de-France, immediately agreed to sponsor the association. “Near the parking lots, we can see homelessness and drug addiction. Behind a humanist duty to help others, I see preventive action that fosters harmony in the community for all,” he says, aware that he is “perhaps a bit of a utopian.”

In 2008, the VINCI Foundation was able to provide €22,000 allowing the association to obtain a new vehicle for the social monitoring service (emergency services), and then €15,000 in 2010 for the purchase of sewing and ironing supplies for the workshop. The association also benefits from its sponsors’ network. “In connection with a parking renovation contract, I put ACISE in contact with the director of a hypermarket that was going to throw out its shelving. The ‘Boutik’ was able to get the shelves for free,” recalls the project’s second sponsor, Yann Honoré, general director of Caraïb Moter (Eurovia), who is delighted at the success of this joint project.

April 2012 © Reporters d'Espoirs news agency

Reporters d'Espoirs news agency

VINCI Foundation works with Reporters d'Espoirs, a French news agency, to highlight and share the innovative social initiatives that it supports. The arrangement includes the writing of articles and exchange on topics that lead to solutions. Thus presented, the initiatives, validated using the criteria of the editorial charter of Reporters d'Espoirs, are intended to demonstrate their development and results.