Projects - 6 April 2023

Pro’Pulsion: The challenge of integrating young people in rural areas

In France, 1.5 million young people aged 15 to 29 (roughly 12.9% of this age group) are not engaged in work, school, or training, according to (The National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies) INSEE. In response to this situation, Bibliothèques Sans Frontières is deploying Ideas Box Pro’Pulsion in several regions across France, with the support of the Ministry of Solidarity and Health. The goal is to guide young people and help them integrate more into society. Clément Fayolle is in charge of the project, which has already benefited more than 1,000 participants.

After secondary school, young adults living in rural areas are more likely to choose a vocational path than their urban counterparts and, on average, pursue less higher education. This is due, among other things, to the local education offerings and to financial obstacles that restrict mobility. While some go to study or work in the city, others are cut off from schooling and recruitment pathways. Inevitably, these adolescents find themselves increasingly isolated.

The Economic, Social and Environmental Council estimates that a quarter of rural adolescents aged 18-24 are neither in school, nor in employment, nor in training.

“The integration of young people is a major issue for equal opportunity and social cohesion. Finding the right training or having a job is essential to achieve one’s independence and freedom. To ensure that no one is left behind, BSF has created the Ideas Box Pro’Pulsion, which is a program that guides  young people who are excluded from education and the job market to develop self-confidence, find a path that’s right for them, and prepare for their future.” Clément Fayolle, director of the Pro’Pulsion project.

Since 2022, thanks to the support of the Ministry of Solidarity and Health, BSF has deployed four Pro’Pulsion Ideas Boxes in Côte-d’Or in the Semur-en-Auxois region, in Meurthe-et-Moselle in the Pont-à-Mousson basin, in Haute-Garonne in Comminges as well as in Doubs in Montbéliard. In these mobile libraries, young people can access resources, courses and mediators who support their reintegration.

“Many young people have a negative image of the working world. Their lack of interest and mistrust of the system often cuts them off from many opportunities. With Pro’Pulsion, we offer them a playful cultural space, where they can meet other young people, relax and have fun.” Clément Fayolle.

In these spaces, people have access to comics, novels, manga, but also computers, board games and video games. While most of the content is related to school and career guidance, the Ideas Box Pro’Pulsion also offers resources on getting a driving license, practicing good sexual health, and overall administrative support for the needs of each individual. Every week, employees from local missions, associations and youth centers trained by our teams also run workshops to re-mobilize the youth population, meeting their needs and empowering them to take action in their life.

“Our job is not just to find a job or training for them. We try to put them in a position to find it for themselves. We develop self-confidence when we act!” Clement Fayolle.

BSF has designed three specific paths for Pro’Pulsion: the starter path, the booster path and the path to integration through entrepreneurship. They each allow young people to realize their desires and overcome their doubts.

“The first course leads young people to face their fears, such as the void or spiders, using a virtual reality headset to immerse the user in a situation with his or her fears. The second course consists of several challenges that encourage people to dare more and to develop their skills. The last one takes place over three months and allows them to discover the world of work, to deconstruct their preconceived notions and to realize their desires in order to reinvent themselves. Clément Fayolle.

Since 2022, 1,000 young people have benefitted from the support of the Pro’Pulsion Ideas Box. Soon, this project will also be deployed in Guyana in Saint-Georges and its neighboring regions.

Due to Pro’Pulsion’s existing success as well as its many needs to come, the TotalEnergies Foundation is supporting the development of the program by financing three additional Ideas Boxes in 2025, as well as the addition of a “parenting” component. This component will enrich the libraries’ documentary collection and give parents, who are often in need, the key tools to help their children find training or employment. Thanks to Caisse des Dépôts, digital workshops will also be set up in the Ideas Boxes to help young people navigate the internet, now that the job search and application process is almost exclusively done online.

Thank you to our partners for their support.

Bibliothèques Sans Frontières empowers vulnerable populations by facilitating access to education, culture, and information. In France and in more than 30 countries, the association creates innovative spaces to live and shelters that allow people affected by crises and uncertainty about learning to have fun, create links, and build their futures.

Translation: Luca Richman