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The Air Liquide Foundation supports the Wake up Café association: discover the interview with its Founder and the two Wakeurs she supports.

De Gauche à Droite : Ricky (Wakeur) / Clotilde Gilbert (Fondatrice de Wake up Café) / Pascal (Wakeur)

Left to right: Ricky (Wakeur) / Clotilde Gilbert (Founder of Wake up Café) / Pascal (Wakeur)

Jobs integration is a real challenge for society, and it makes sense for the Foundation to take a stand in this area where it can have an impact - particularly in trades that have high numbers of unfilled openings in the industry. This is why the Air Liquide Foundation supports professional integration projects for people far from employment.

Since 2022, the Foundation has been supporting the Wake up Café association, which helps people leaving prison to reintegrate socially and professionally without re-offending. This 3-year partnership aims to contribute to the sustainable socio-professional reintegration of 75 prison leavers (Wakeurs) in several French cities*.

How did the partnership with the Air Liquide Foundation come about?

Clotilde Gilbert

Like everything else at Wake up Café, the partnership with the Air Liquide Foundation was born of an encounter. With its team, we realized that the Foundation's involvement in jobs integration also corresponded to our need to have partner companies committed to this theme.

Wake up Café works with young people who have spent one or more periods in prison and who say “I never want to go back! Many of them left school at a very early age, have no diplomas, no qualifications and no idea of what the world of work is like, or of society's very basic codes. We help them get back in touch with the professional world.

How does the Air Liquide Foundation support you?

Clotilde Gilbert

Wake up Café needs the support of major corporate foundations. We're proud to have the Air Liquide Foundation at our side. Its commitment goes beyond financial support, as Air Liquide employees volunteer and actively participate in the proposed missions at all our sites in France. They can exchange with the Wakeurs to share their experiences, show them what the world of work is like, what its codes are and how best to apprehend it.

How did you hear about Wake up Café?

Ricky Wakeur

I discovered Wake up Café in 2021 while I was in prison, through a friend who had already been helped by the association. This motivated me to write a letter explaining my desire to join their program. I passed the interview and then joined the Wake up Café integration program.

Pascal Wakeur

Like Ricky, I heard about Wake up Café in prison in 2022 during a 7-month training course where they taught me to work on myself and get to know myself better. I wish I'd met them sooner, as I'm sure it would have saved me a few return trips to prison.

Now my friends, family and children have also regained confidence in me. Wake up Café has really helped me to get my future back.

What has Wake up Café done for you in concrete terms?

Ricky Wakeur

Wake up Café gave me a sense of balance, because when you come out of prison you need to rebuild yourself, and their support enabled me to acquire self-confidence and codes for everyday life, but they also gave me the affection I'd always lacked. Thanks to them, I've rediscovered myself and learned to manage my different emotions, which is complicated when you're too often confronted with violence.

Pascal Wakeur

They taught me how to work rigorously, arrive on time, know how to work as part of a team, all the qualities needed in the professional world. I also learned to have self-confidence, and since then I've even been able to speak in public!

What are your current and future projects?

Ricky Wakeur

I'm currently training to become an educator and I continue to support new Wakeurs who arrive on the site. I help them to accept their situation, to accept that they're dependent on someone else, but above all that they can trust Wake up because it's hard to trust others when you're just out of prison. It's also quite natural for me to provide this support, because now with Wake up Café we're a team; they're my friends, my family.

Pascal Wakeur

I'm currently coming to the end of my 6-month internship with Wake up Café on the Quai Liberté site in Paris, where I do maintenance and where we're lucky enough to see the Eiffel Tower every day. In a few months' time, in September, I'll be resuming the second part of the Certificat de Compétences Professionnelles of my electrician training course I started in detention. 

My goal is to become an electrician and set up my own business. Now my friends, family and children have also regained confidence in me. Wake up Café has really helped me to get my future back.

*Location : Paris, Montreuil, Sèvres, Marseille, Lyon et Nantes