Social and professional integration at the service of international aid

After three years of activity, Ateliers sans frontières, a workshop for social and professional integration, is consolidating its successful track record by branching out into computer recycling. The end goal is to create additional jobs and business opportunities in the French regions.

Social and Employment

Bonneuil-sur-Marne, France

Pascal Lermechin

35,400 € to the Selection Committee at 2004/09/28

Project leader

Ateliers sans Frontières

"Ateliers sans frontières, created by a graduate of the ESCP (Paris business school) is a responsible, effective and innovative association. The project to diversify into computing has been well thought out in both economic and technical terms. The partnerships it has signed provide a guarantee of future business opportunities."
Pascal Lermechin

What sets Ateliers sans frontiers (ASF) apart is its commitment to fulfilling two complementary remits: supporting professional integration in France while participating in international aid initiatives. Its work with the socially excluded in France enables it to provide associations working abroad with high-quality equipment. For the past three years, the ASF has been focused on sporting equipment and only recently decided to diversify into recycling used computers. Objectives: increase the number of jobs (ten more posts on top of the thirty-two which currently exist), enable employees to take part in a new, rewarding activity, and participate in reducing the digital divide between the developed and developing worlds by providing a variety of organisations in developing countries with computer hardware which has been reconditioned in its workshop.


A first contract for the delivery of 2,500 computers each year

However, this project requires a new workshop to be fully fitted out since the association is moving to larger, more suitable premises in early 2004. It contacted the Veolia foundation which has agreed to provide funding to the tune of 34,500 euros (total budget: 118,600 euros). This sum covers work to partition off a specific area protected from the dust generated by other activities as well as special work stations for sorting and reconditioning computers.

Business opportunities are already starting to open up. A first contract was signed with the British NGO, Computer Aid International, for delivery of a container filled with 225 computers by end October 2004. Subsequently, ASF will supply Computer Aid International on a monthly basis, i.e. over 2,500 computers annually. Other contracts are under negotiation. These developments will eventually lead to the recruitment of two technical supervisors to organise and run the workshop on top of the new professional integration posts created. ASF is hoping to extend this activity to other regions in order to create more jobs in France and improve computer access in the developing world.