France launches its first guide for refugees

France launches its first guide for refugees
Photo: AFP
A guide has been launched in France to help facilitate the lives of refugees who have been granted asylum there.
The guide offers information on the practicalities of living in France and has been produced in French, Russian, English and Arabic. 
As the first of its kind to appear in the country, it was made in collaboration with refugees and is available on the internet
The guide, which covers important subjects including identity papers, learning French, housing, health and  employment can be downloaded onto mobile phones and 1,500 printed copies will be distributed across the country. 
“It's about responding to refugees who are unfamiliar with their rights, as well as answering the recurring questions of volunteers or organizations working with them,” says Anne Rouffi who works as a social worker for refugees.
A dozen refugees who have been granted asylum in Gironde in south west France contributed to the guide's creation.
Bernard Thibaud, director of French charity Secours Catholique, said that a recently published report showed that foreigners in vulnerable situations are often unaware of their basic rights when they arrive in France. 
“This undermines the prejudice that foreigners come to France to take advantage of social welfare,” said Thibaud. “People say they benefit from the system but many are not even aware of their rights.”