France: slum dwellers more vulnerable to the Coronavirus

Photo credit: ASET93

For more than a year, Aide et Action has been working in partnership with ASET 93 in the slums of Seine-Saint-Denis (93) to support the education of children who are far from school. The spread of the coronavirus has a particular impact on these vulnerable and marginalized populations.

More than 600 children live in shanty towns in Seine-Saint-Denis and 80 % of them already do not have access to school in "normal" times. Already vulnerable and marginalised, these children and their families must now face the Coronavirus epidemic, which isolates them even further.

For more than a year, Aide et Action has been supporting ASET 93, an association that works alongside them. This association carries out educational activities in shanty towns, squats and social hotels (via Among other things, a school van is used to provide pre-schooling while the administrative procedures for enrolling children in school are completed, and to mediate between families and school staff.

Today, due to the health crisis and following government measures, their actions are unfortunately restricted.

No solution provided by the public authorities

"We have not intervened in trucks since Monday 16 March. As far as educational continuity is concerned, the mediators remain the intermediaries between the teachers and the parents for the transmission of information and school work, says Clélia Chopinaud, a school educator from the ASET 93 association. In addition, the association's school educators are considering the creation of a A "resource centre" of educational tools designed to be as close as possible to the needs of the pupils and really accessible, with distribution organised by the mediators.

The mediators work from home, responding by telephone to needs communicated by parents. They still go out into the field to try to respond to the most urgent problems while waiting for the public authorities to play their role. We are concerned about the health situation. So far the authorities have not provided any solutions to the problems. We hope that emergency actions will be put in place in the next few days.

Moral support provided by the mediators

The parents are now calling on the government to guarantee access to basic necessities, food aid and health measures. " The mediators relay these requests. They inform, reassure and provide moral support at this extremely difficult time.

Aide et Action has been fighting for nearly 40 years to support the most vulnerable and marginalized populations. Despite the current context, we are doing everything possible to continue supporting our operational partners and ensure, as much as possible, the continuity of our actions in the field.

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