Originally from Chad, Omar had to flee his country in 2016, when at the crossroads of conflict on the African continent. After losing his wife and three children to fire and blood in this country, he decides to join France in the hope of a better life. Arriving in France, without papers or work, he finds himself on the street, left to himself. Until the day he crosses the union roof for mein Toulouse, helping him rebuild himself, regain control of his life and find a place in society, far from the war and its atrocities.
“It’s hard for me to tell what I’ve been through. In Chad I lost everything, my wife, my children, my country, my family, my life… I don’t have the words to say what happened to me I have experienced things unimaginable to mere mortals., says Omar *, very moved. He continues: ” When I arrived in France, it was not easy either. I had nothing, no papers, no job, no housing “. On the street at the age of 35 and very weakened by the events, Omar felt very quickly “isolated, rejected by other people”he shares with us with deep sadness.
“I was cold, I didn’t eat enough, I couldn’t wash, I was tired, physically and also mentally”, he continues. From Paris, he went to Nantes and then to Toulouse at the request of the French Office of Immigration and Integration (OFII). There he was introduced to the Toit à Moi association. We are 2017. “I arrived with my backpack and my two shopping bags. I was offered coffee and told my story and my suffering. I was warmly welcomed and for the first time in a long time I was treated like a human being”, remembers Omar. A few days later, the man, now 40, receives confirmation that the association can accommodate him. ” You are home “they say to him by way of welcome when he arrives at his apartment.
A whole life to rebuild
“I expected a hostel or a hotel room like at 115, but with Toit à Moi you have the keys to your apartment, you are a tenant like the others and that is not given to everyone in the world “he testifies gratefully. That is the principle of Toit à Moi: the association buys apartments in which it shelters the homeless or homeless and thus gives them the opportunity to change their lives in the long term. This is the “housing first” method, which we told you about here. Once housed, each person benefits from ongoing and personalized support that helps them rebuild, regain confidence and bounce back. But it is also about moments of pause and discussion with the volunteers and employees of the association, who help them to smile again and to embark on the path of a new life, far from the street.
At the association, Omar can count on Richard, head of the Toit à Moi site in Toulouse, whom he considers a member of his family. it’s him “who accompanied me in the world of French work”remembers Omar. “Thanks to him and Jeanne, a volunteer, I met a business manager who sponsored the association and offered me a job when I had my papers”says Omar for whom it was urgent to “find a job, a situation”† When he gets his residence permit, Richard calls together with the director of the company. He was recruited to his factory on an interim basis for three months as a production agent and practitioner. After that, Omar got a full-time permanent contract with the same company, just six months after joining the association.
An infinite recognition
After finding a situation, Omar decides to end the support of Toit à Moi in 2019 and “make room for others in need” because “Now that I’m part of society, it’s my turn to help”, explains Omar humbly. He did keep in touch with the association in which he became a volunteer, but he was also a regular donor. It testifies: “The Toit à Moi association first gave me back my taste for life by treating me like a human being and then it helped me to become someone again by helping me regain my autonomy through housing and work. Now it is mine to give.”
Now he still works at the factory that hired him four years earlier. He also became the proud father of a 20-month-old girl. Next step for Omar: embarking on a new professional career in personal assistance as a firefighter or first responder, “people-oriented companies”† One day he will surely return to Chad to see his family, even if they are still there “very painful”† In the meantime, he wants to stay in France, in Toulouse, the pink city he adores and where he now feels at home.
*To respect his anonymity, Omar’s first name has been changed.
Do you want to help others like Omar on their way to a new life? Offer housing for a homeless person and enabling him to move from exclusion to reintegrationit just happens here †