At a time when world leaders were trading in Morocco’s International Migration Charter in Marrakesh, a sub-Saharan immigrant was painting on the arm of a young Moroccan man and tattooing the legendary phoenix in the basement of a commercial complex in Rabat.
Ali, aged 26, is a young Moroccan and foreigner of all ages and groups who want to tattoo themselves on different parts of their bodies, some of whom are meant to remove him.
In a small shop closed by curtains to preserve the privacy of his customers was just a question of where and how he came to Morocco enough to show how much pain he is hiding.
“We have large families, and we refuse to see our images in social networking sites,” Ali says.
Ali gave the assistant to help him complete the phoenix, while tears rolled his eyes, saying, “We do our things, we are fine.”
Settlement and reality
Morocco had earlier launched a national strategy for migration and asylum to ensure better management of migratory waves, and the number of requests for status settlement submitted was more than 56,000 (the number of requests for status adjustments that have so far been approved is more than 43,000).
Estimates of irregular or unregulated migrants not included in official statistics – according to a report by the Economic and Social Council (a government consultancy) – indicate that there are about 20,000 migrants living illegally on Moroccan soil.
The question remains: How do all these people live, what do they work and how? Who are their customers? How do they engage in the Moroccan economic cycle?
The data of the National Social Security Fund for 2017 show that the number of migrant workers in Morocco reached 26,283, most of whom are employed in the services and trade sector, the manufacturing sector, and the construction sector.
In contrast, only a few hundred migrant workers work in agriculture, forestry and hunting.
Omar .. Maryam ..
With a wide smile, we met Omar at a phone repair shop.
“We live normally among the Moroccans,” says Omar, who came to Morocco from Senegal. “We live normally among the Moroccans.”
Looks at the age of signs of satisfaction, and works with him another immigrant from his country.
Maryam, who initially thought we were customers, quickly broke the smile from her face, rubbed her fingers and looked right and left before she could talk to us.
Maryam tells how she came from the Cote d’Ivoire four years ago, after losing her parents in the war, confirming that she did not abandon her country in vain, and that she came to Morocco to work and help the rest of her family.
Maryam rents a shop, provides various haircut and decorating services, and like many other sub-Saharan women who work as hairdressers (most of whom have street tables where they offer their services), Mary provides her clients with wig, nails and eyelids, making rasta braids and dyeing hair for Moroccan and foreign clients.
“I do not think about leaving Morocco, I feel good, I have residency papers, I work, I respect,” she said.
In Rabat, many sub-Saharan migrants try to get economic integration as much as possible. Some of them find the land to sell their products, and the one who makes a street from which he sews or repairs shoes, or offers a variety of services in construction, carrying loads, transporting luggage and even shaving.
In the scene of Bat fills the capital you find carts selling dried fish, black bananas, wigs and various products from the sub-Saharan.
Search for freedom
Not far from Maryam’s house, Mansour met at the Reda commercial complex in the heart of the capital – which, in five years, has become a market for sub-Saharan immigrants – is working on a sewing machine.
Mansour is a recent emigration to Morocco through Algeria on a long journey on foot, and he does not want to pay attention to it, working on the packaging of wigs, and repair clothes and what is required of the customers of the shop in which he works.
Unlike Omar and Maryam Mansour works for a Moroccan woman who owns the shop. “I came to Morocco to stay here, where there is freedom and peace,” he says with a smile that gave her no room.
Mohammed al-Tutt is a Syrian refugee who left Syria in 2013 because of the war. He runs a restaurant in one of the most prestigious districts in Rabat.
“I was working as a waiter. When I was old I did not expect Hake to be busy,” says Mohammed, who tells about his journey. “The pain is not forgotten.”
When Mohammed took advantage of his legal status, he thought of setting up his own project, borrowed, worked hard and insisted, and benefited from a small support from a UNHCR refugee integration program through its partners in Morocco.
He started with a small Shawerma shop selling sandwiches and some appetizers, and expanded his project to become a hero among the favorite destinations in Rabat, the “Champions of the Sham” restaurant.
Mohammed merged the cultures of Morocco and Syria, employing workers, half of them Syrians and half Moroccans, and decorated the shop with a mixture of Moroccan and oriental.
And if Mohammed has achieved success, many Syrians have changed in difficult situations that have reached begging level. Sub-Saharan migrants are young men who take cemeteries and live on alms, including those who live in the open and camps.