« The OFII really encouraged me to go full steam ahead in my profession. [...]. Now I’ve got two apprentices who’re being trained up just the way I was »
|In the hope of finding a better job as a carpenter in France, Apollinaire decided to leave Cameroon in 2010. Unfortunately, he received a very poor reception when he arrived, even among his friends and family who were already living in the country. “I saw everything fall apart”, he tells us.||Left to his own devices, he found himself out in the street. It was when he went to Médecins du Monde that he heard about the voluntary repatriation grants offered by the OFII and, after spending a bit of time thinking about it, he decided to apply.|
On getting home to Cameroon, Apollinaire was happy and relieved to be with his wife again. His aunt and sister gave him a warm welcome and the whole of his family offered him enormous moral support.
Apollinaire then got his own carpentry workshop back and returned to work. “To start with I was ashamed of having come back home - I was afraid people would make fun of me for having risked everything in Europe without actually managing to integrate”, he tells us.
The OFII helped him to move back into a house, thus making it easier for him not only to reintegrate but also to get hold of supplies of raw materials so he could get his workshop going. “The OFII really encouraged me to go full steam ahead in my profession. [...]. Now I’ve got two apprentices who’re being trained up just the way I was.” These grants meant that Apollinaire is able both to support his family and to send his children to school - or to hospital when they are ill. Indeed, the support did not stop there, and the OFII are still keeping a very close eye on his progress and they will continue to support him through the various stages of his career plan.
Apollinaire, who is 35, now dreams of opening a sawmill and buying machines to expand his workshop.