The route connecting Niger-Lybia to Algeria is the one tipically chosen by those migrating from Wastern African countries to Europe. Unfortunately, such journey often proves to be very different from the one envisioned, as the hope of finding better economic and/or security conditions gets replaced by deeply traumatic experiences.
Once at their destination, in fact, a large number of migrants is taken prisoner and forced to work as slaves. Physical and psychological abuse is common, especially against women and children.
In order to provide shelter and protection to people evacuated from Libya during their transit journey in Niger, COOPI collaborates with UNHCR within the ETM ("Emergency Evacuation Transit Mechanism") programme. The ETM leads to the identification of the most vulnerable refugees and asylum seekers in Libyan detention centres in order to facilitate their evacuation to transit countries while waiting to be transferred to third countries.
COOPI currently manages 6 guest houses in Agadez and 17 in the capital Niamey, where more than 1000 people have been welcomed to date. House guests have access to accommodation, food and medical care, which are ensured by the constant presence of a team of professionals, as well as social-recreational and educational activities organized in each center daily, e.g. sports, awareness raising, literacy, theater and dance.
Psychological support activities are also provided in the guest houses. Among them, special "conversation spaces" allow those who have lived similar experiences to feel safe and share their emotions, so as to foster the recovery from the past experiences, getting in touch with one's own fears and estabilishing a network of mutual support.
The ultimate goal is to provide participants with a personalized process of empowerment aimed to overcome trauma and rebuild their identity after what they have suffered.