Patrick Ouriaghli is a Frenchman who settled in Romania at the end of 2008.
Patrick Ouriaghli has a cosmopolitan spirit and he settled in Romania for philanthropic purposes. He is the director of the Association “Workshops without borders” set up by his wife Raluca. Here, marginalized people, people without a home or a job, can benefit from professional re-training by working in several small social enterprises developed as projects by the association. For Patrick Ouriaghli, the decision to live in Romania was both objective, stemming from the wish and possibility to help these people, and subjective, Bucharest being the place where his wife lived and where he was to start a family. That is why adapting to the Romanian society was very easy.
Patrick Ouriaghli: “Adapting to Romania was very easy. The only difficulty for me was the winter weather, as I was born in the south of France. But leaving winter weather aside, the people I met made me feel good at personal level. At professional level, there are many challenges and many things to be done. You always have something to discover and learn, and the project you are involved in is continuously growing. It’s really thrilling. There are few associations and social enterprises that operate in the field of social and professional reinsertion. Our objective is the make those people who are marginalized or excluded or who, for various reasons, are unable to find a normal job in a normal company, active again. After a period of professional training and employment, these people can get hired in a normal company, even a famous one. From this point of view, we are not alone on the market, there another 11 such associations in Romania. Together, we have created a consortium called RISE, the network of social insertion enterprises in Romania. These enterprises have a similar purpose, namely to help those people who are currently considered a burden for the society become active again”.
For instance, one of the projects of the “Workshops without borders” is about recycling advertisement banners and turning them into bags. The bags are made by women in a difficult condition who, in this way, acquire further skills and also obtain a salary until they get hired in a normal company.
Patrick Ouriaghli: “For us, it is very important not to turn our backs on some members of the society who, although today are not able to integrate into a normal company, with a little training and confidence, they can turn into qualified and efficient human resources. In this way people become responsible and no longer depend on the system. These people themselves find it hard to believe that they can improve their social status and become responsible citizens. But it is also our job to help them regain self-confidence. That is why we have developed certain economic activities that both benefit the environment, such as waste recycling projects, and boost social solidarity, such as the projects related to computer donations. We also have this project related to banner recycling called REMASH as well as an organic farm. All these are positive activities and the people involved in them are proud of them. In this way they regain self-confidence”.
Passionate about his activity at the “Workshops without borders” and perfectly integrated into the atmosphere of the capital Bucharest, Patrick Ouriaghli is not going to leave Romania too soon: “I have lived in several countries, my wife has also lived for several years in Paris. But at a certain point we will go either to France or to another country, we do not know for sure now. This is not a clear priority now, at present we are living in Romania and we have a lot to do here”.
The activities at the “Workshops without borders” combine ecological projects with humanitarian ones and the professional insertion actions offer a labor contract for a determined period of time of 24 months, an activity in one of the following fields: recycling, IT maintenance, logistics, packaging, handling of goods, cleaning, transportation, manufacturing as well as customized services such as counseling, guidance, training and mediation, for finding a job, together with NGOs, partner institutions and companies.