A third cohort of refugees graduated from their Wintegreat at HEC program on June 7, receiving their certificates after 12 intensive weeks learning French, English and local culture. This course aims at providing a toolkit for personal and professional integration into the host nation.

“I’m proud to have made the decision to join Wintegreat at HEC. We were and we will remain a single family, I’ll treasure this experience.” “We have come to rebuild our lives in France, and for us to achieve this, the language and culture you have given is vital.” Words uttered by Amer Ibrahim and Hamid Ibrahim (not his real name) respectively, in two of several testimonies shared by the participants of the three-month induction program organized by the Paris NGO Wintegreat. 20 people from all backgrounds were awarded the certificate after an intense program ably marshalled by French teacher Stephanie Som and her colleague Geraldine Chamart.

Stephanie Som, Geraldine Chamart with Sudanese student Yacine Ishag

This education program is one of 10 designed by Wintegreat to help educated but disenfranchised refugees create or revive their professional careers. Hailing from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Libya, Russia, Yemen, Eritrea, Sudan, Kenya, Guinea, Somalia and Georgia, the HEC participants learnt or perfected their French and English and were provided with new cultural references by their tutors. The 20 refugees also exchanged with HEC student and staff volunteers and mentors in a drive to fine-tune their professional projects. “I hope this program expands,” said Ibrahim, a former journalist in his Afghanistan who still fears for his family’s safety in his homeland. “Education is a key for peace, prosperity and integration in these challenging times. Please continue to provide both.”