Rome, Italy, and Abidjan, Ivory Coast - Finding a Job to Stay in Africa

The search for an alternative way to get ahead in life for people who have entered the country illegally is at the heart of the international cooperation project coordinated by the ELIS association and the Ivorian association ADESC, both of which are brought forward by members of Opus Dei together with other people.

Jean Luc lives in Abidjan, where he now works as a technician in an electrical company. He is very grateful for the opportunity to enjoy working conditions that allow him to look to the future with hope.

When he finished high school, as he did not have the financial means to study at a university, he opted to attend the courses that the ADESC Akatio center offers to young people who are trying to build a future for themselves.

Thanks to Richesse Ivorienne (“Ivorian Wealth”), the project developed by the Akatio center together with the ELIS Center in Rome (with the financial support of the Italian Ministry of the Interior), Jean Luc was able to receive the necessary training to find work in the construction sector and then as an electrical technician.

“Before the course I was working, but without any qualifications,” says Jean Luc, who before learning about ADESC was doing small jobs without many future prospects. “Then I heard about the possibility of receiving free training in fields in which I was already working.”

“That’s how I met Thomas, the project manager,” Jean Luc continues. “He helped me a lot. He was a mentor for me.” Thomas was in charge of following closely all the stages in Jean Luc’s training, from the practical and theoretical lessons to his introduction into the working world.

Jean Luc is currently working for an electrical company on a fixed-term contract, but hopes to be hired on a permanent basis when his current contract expires. “I don’t care how long it requires to take the next step. What motivates me is the prospect of advancing. My training, including the experience I’ve had in construction, is helping me a lot in my job. Everything you learn is useful.”

Although the Richesse Ivorienne project ended in October 2018, it will continue in another form. In fact, ELIS has begun the ForSUD project in Ivory Coast and Nigeria, with the assistance of ADESC and co-financing from the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation.

Like Richesse Ivorienne, setting up an alternative path to overcome the problems of illegal migration through free vocational and entrepreneurial training, is a fundamental part of this new project. Special attention is given to human formation, which is very important for the targeted young people to be become aware of their own possibilities and capabilities.

What lies behind projects like this is “the desire to bring hope where there is none and overcome hardships,” the vice president of the ELIS Center Association, Daniele Maturo, said. For the great need exists in every corner of the world to communicate what is the real wealth worth investing in: persons, one by one.

Romana, n. 70, January-December 2020, p. 141-142.

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