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‘The Captain’ challenges poor younger folks to like France

PIERREFITTE-SUR-SEINE, France (AP) – The person they name “the captain” runs a decent ship, reaching his years of army service to instill the arrogance, braveness and love of France in his proteges , younger folks from the poor suburbs of France,.

However first, they need to be taught to get up on time and brush their enamel, explains Nourouddine Abdoulhoussen, a former member of the eighth Marine Infantry Parachute Regiment, who runs an affiliation known as Let Them Serve (Let Them Serve) with a singular strategy to integration. .

In his personal means, Abdoulhoussen, 53, with a white beard, works to boost some French battalions of poor younger folks, usually from extremely immigrant housing tasks identified for unemployment and delinquency, and to revive French values ​​to create “the residents”. of tomorrow. “

Abdoulhoussen, a Muslim from India, has no sympathy for the complainants.

“I too have an expertise,” he mentioned. “I crossed the seas to come back right here. I skilled the issue of integration. I understand how it feels to see folks you since you behave in a different way. Or folks have a look at you since you look totally different. “

A gaggle of younger troopers come to consideration on command. They sing the French nationwide anthem, then transfer to their assigned stations in a gymnasium in Pierrefitte-Sur-Seine, north of Paris. In a fastidiously calibrated military-style operation, they put together and pack not less than 400 meals a day for supply to the poor throughout Ramadan, the holy month for Muslims.

Directions are spelled out in lists on the wall. On a current go to, 639 items of hen, reduce by the kids, had been cooked with greens in big pots in a tent exterior. In the course of the yr, younger folks take soup kettles to Parisian stations.

Different values ​​are taught throughout abroad expeditions, together with army video games in numerous areas of France. Wearing camouflage uniforms, they be taught to beat challenges on tough terrain, self-discipline and teamwork.

“I took medication, I did some fairly silly issues … I had no goals,” says a 29-year-old younger lady from Senegal, nicknamed Biline. With out the band, “I may have ended up in a different way.”

Two years in the past, Abdoulhoussen led 50 younger folks to the royal area in Normandy from the non-existent French pretender to the throne for a lesson in etiquette. They sang the “Marseillaise”, the French anthem, to Prince Jean. The go to prompted 19-year-old Rayen Benayed to turn into a full-time member of the affiliation, one in every of some 300 folks in France.

The greater than twenty younger individuals who take part within the preparation of Ramadan meals come from backgrounds as combined because the French suburbs: Franco-Afghan, Ivory Coast, Senegal, Gabon, Algeria, some born in France, from others nonetheless awaiting residency papers. Many are college students, others are nonetheless in search of a foothold in life. A lady who began boxing to fend off her abusive husband is among the many feminine members of the group.

“I take into account myself French,” Biline mentioned, “as a result of I believe that turning into French is not only papers. It’s a habits, understanding the right way to dwell and likewise to talk the language … For me, racism is simply ignorant folks.

Abdoulhoussen says younger folks need to work to beat each their unhealthy habits and the rejection that usually plagues folks with totally different names, seems or addresses.

“These younger individuals who cannot get up at 7 am,” he says. “Why do we’ve to show younger folks to brush their enamel?”

He says the French authorities is losing money and time launching new packages in its troubled suburbs to treatment the issues. What it’s a must to do is “go to the underside of the challenge’s stairwells, wake them up, make them work … to go and produce what is going to make them really feel worth.”

Let Them Serve was based in 2007 below a distinct title. Its annual price range is simply 120,000 euros ($ 144,000), cash from donations.

“I need to imprint on their minds the love of the nation,” he mentioned. “You understand, plenty of the spirit of those youngsters is from abroad, in order that they suppose this nation does not belong to them… We do not need to destroy their heritage, their previous. We need to make them wealthy twice. “

These are classes discovered for Ophélie Voisin, 25, a Franco-Afghan from Amiens, north of Paris. She is happy with her 9 years within the affiliation.

“Singing“ La Marseillaise ”within the morning shouldn’t be a disgrace. It is actually a pleasure, ”she mentioned. “We needs to be happy with this as a result of we’re in France.”

___

Nicolas Garriga contributed from Pierrefitte.

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