Having worked with newcomers for the past 10 years, we know how difficult it is for them to access the right information and services they need to settle in their new host countries.
Obviously the language barrier is one of the main issue. In France, for instance, it is very difficult to find trust-worthy administrative and legal information in foreign languages. Even public organizations, such as OFII or OFPRA who work almost exclusively with foreigners don’t share information in other languages than French on their websites.
But to be honest, even if you’re lucky enough to speak French, the current system and rules that apply to newcomers are so technical and complicated that even French people themselves have trouble getting around them.
In French, there is an acronyme which sums up pretty well one of the most important problems newcomers have to with the french system: « PTDH – Putain de facteur humain », which translates to « Fucking human factor ». The people behind the French legal and administrative system strongly impact newcomer’s experiences for good or for bad. Social or government workers can often be stressed-out, unprepared and untrained, over-worked, frustrated, inpatient but they can also very helpful, understanding, patient, motivated. They even sometimes speak other languages. Basically, you have to be at the right place with the right person to get the right information…
The Facebook solution
Today, many newcomers turn to Facebook groups for answers where others like them share information and feedback on the different procedures and experiences they went through. This is the way they usually get answers pretty quickly. Unfortunately, the efficiency does not always rhyme with accuracy or with quality. It is not rare that a blatantly wrong, inaccurate or partial information is shared within those communities. Users also have to deal with opposing opinions and are left to gamble and take their decisions blindly. A this also valid for offline experiences of sharing information.
Our Yeobi Live events
We created Yeobi Live events to reduce the risk of newcomers accessing the wrong information without denying the effectiveness of the communication within each community. We wanted accurate experiences and information to be shared among communities. These events will allow all newcomers to have the chance to compare points of view, discuss and leave with useful, up-to-date and precise information validated by experts.
Each Yeobi Live event has a precise topic that has been determined in collaboration with various communities of newcomers so that we talk about things that are important for them. We then invite experts and newcomers who will share their perspective on the issue.
The event takes place in 3 parts. During the first ones, each of the speakers share their expertise/experience during 10 minutes (we usually have between 3 to 4 speakers). During the second part the speakers sit with smaller groups of participants, who all get the chance to ask questions and exchange with the speaker. During the third part, experts review in front of the whole group, the most important or frequent questions that have asked by the participants. Every Yeobi Live event is organized in at least two languages. This means that Yeobi provides translation for all the events so you can fully understand the information and express yourself. If we have enough volunteers we can also organize livestream the event online.
Actually there’s are four part to Yeobi Live events and the last one is quite important. We usually end with a drink and a moment during which participants and speakers can continue the conversation and have a good time.
If you’re interested in our Yeobi Live events, or in Yeobi’s activity, subscribe to our newsletter and like our facebook page to be informed about our upcoming events and volunteering opportunities. If you have a specific difficulty in France and you don’t seem to find a solution, tell us more about it and we’ll try to figure it out together.