When you arrive in a big city, directly after your baccalaureate or a little later for your studies, the gap between life with your parents and life alone is large. By adding financial difficulties, the cocktail can be explosive. Associations like Studelp or 1cabasPour1student try to give back what may be lacking during this period: food and social connections.
“My mother lives in Cantal, but she always watches over me, from a distance. I owe him a lot: without his mania I wouldn’t be where I am. » Rémy arrived in Paris after confinement two years ago, in the 2nd year of law at Assas. The economic situation of the young man, who lives in Paris, does not allow him to eat enough every day, despite his scholarship status. “In Paris, the only U restaurant open in the evening is at Cité Universitaire. But when my tutorials in Assas finish at 8:30 p.m., I go home. »
“They are starving and socially cut off from the world”
Here again, his mother, from afar, watches over and made him contact the 1Cabaspour1student association at the start of 2023. The association, created in February 2021, aims to help students in difficulty by putting them in contact with godparents who agree to help them feed themselves. But not only. “They live far from home or are broken up in their family, they sometimes come from another country… They need social ties,” explains Marion Dolisy Galzy, the president of the association: “The principle is not to only give them a shopping basket, but go shopping together, the market, lunch, chat, go to the museum or the cinema, help them find an internship or fill out administrative documents. »
When the association launched, Covid had isolated the students for almost a year. “We had been seeing queues at food distributions for weeks. We discovered what the generation sacrificed by Covid is, the youth and students locked up, without jobs, whose savings have melted away. They are starving and psychologically they are socially cut off from the world. » While she goes shopping, the business manager comes across a young girl, smartphone in hand.
“It’s 5:45 p.m., 15 minutes before curfew, I see her calculating her shopping and putting down a packet of sugar. At the checkout, it comes to mind, I say to myself ‘damn, you could have paid him 15 or 20 euros for groceries, approached him, even if you’re not rich!’ » On the way back, she realizes that young people in difficulty, “I have plenty of them around my house and even if I found 10 or 20, I couldn’t help them”: “The idea of the association is about doing one to one so that everyone can help someone. »
An immediate success
At the time, the company that builds websites launched an online form and a small site to connect godparents with students in difficulty. “Right away we had hundreds of people registering. But at first, we weren’t able to reach the students. We had to do word of mouth. » Today 5,500 students have been helped since the creation of the association. “And 400 students are waiting because we have not been able to call them back, due to a lack of sponsors to offer them,” specifies the president of the association.
Dominique is one of the volunteers, after hearing about 1Cabaspour1student “on the radio or in a magazine supplement like Fémina”: “I have always volunteered. I worked with young sick people in Necker, then supported women victims of domestic violence. I really like the bond of a relationship, so I contacted 1Cabaspour1student and the association put me in contact with Rémy. »
When Dominique talks about Rémy, whom she met last February, she is full of praise for “this incredible boy”. This former lawyer, now the head of a mediation firm, considers herself a “referent adult”: “I do it because if my children were in this situation, I would love for them to be helped. Rémy never gives me lists, but asks me for fruits and vegetables, I give him sausage and now he dares to ask for cheese! If he fell well, so did I! »
“When I don’t find him in good shape, I allow myself to tell him that I’m worried”
Before Dominique’s shopping, Rémy no longer bought cheese or meat. “It’s too expensive, but these are things that must be paid for so that the producers are paid correctly in turn,” underlines the young man. If when he was studying in his first year in Clermont-Ferrand, Rémy was already skipping meals, now that Dominique is doing some shopping for him, “it’s much better”.
But the connection doesn’t end there. “It’s a real friendship,” explains Rémy. “When I don’t find him in good shape,” adds Dominique, “I allow myself to tell him that I’m worried. » If Rémy repeated his 3rd year by a few points, he knows how isolating precariousness can be. According to student associations, students in precarious situations are likely to stop their studies much more than others.
A situation for which Rémy refuses to be ashamed. “There are people in my situation who don’t talk about it. It’s very taboo and people are ashamed to say they need help. But we have to tell ourselves that we don’t give a damn about people’s views on this. Especially when you are a student and come from a disadvantaged background. We have to think about ourselves and if there is help, we take it, despite the talk about welfare. We have to make sure we get through it and we must not be afraid and stay alone. »
This news article has been translated from the original language to English by WorldsNewsNow.com.
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