Ken Mgwana of Congolese nationality, foreign student in France, recounts his misadventure – Togotimes

Ken Mgwana has been studying public law in France for five years. As a foreign student, his studies are less like a theoretical course than an obstacle course. Latest to date: this Monday, September 18, for failure to pay his rent, he was ordered to leave his university accommodation. Testimony.

Ken Mgwana is packing his boxes. It’s not that there’s a lot to pack into this 10m² university room but it’s all heavy. He weighs terribly. Ken doesn’t know where he will sleep tonight.

Two weeks ago, the student received a formal notice from the Crous (Regional Center for University and School Works) in Strasbourg, which manages his residence on campus. He must leave the premises before this evening for unpaid bill. 300 euros. “I am a discreet person and I have always tried to take care of my image, but right now, I am suffering too much, I have to speak. »

Ken takes it upon himself, he says. “One evening, I arrived, my badge no longer worked. My nice neighbor let me in. »

“This situation was reported to us last year. This is a student financially supported by the Crous who had problems with his guarantor and unpaid rent. At least three. This is why his renewal request was refused in the spring. He was informed that his right to occupy the accommodation expired on August 31,” explains Sophie Roussel, general director of Crous.

However, Ken says he has multiplied “graceful” appeals to the Crous, explaining his situation. No income, no allowance, nothing. Refusal by the administration. Since September 1, he has been an “occupant without rights or title. »

I ate when I could. There, I will end up on the street.

Ken Mgwana, foreign student

“300 euros, you can imagine, it’s nothing, and it’s enormous. It was my mother who sent me money from Congo so that I could find accommodation. She died in 2021. My cousin took over, but he doesn’t make it every month… I ate when I could. There, I will end up on the street. »

“The logic of the Crous is that of a social landlord. We cannot accommodate students for free. I know that foreign students often find themselves in difficult situations, we can guide them. Student accommodation in Strasbourg is limited, the situation is tense. We must make room for students who have rights. We have obligations. If we look at renewals so carefully, it is because the supply is not sufficient,” explains Sophie Roussel.

If Ken finds himself in such a situation, it is not so much the fault of the Crous and its implacable accounting logic in a saturated market, as that of the French state.

Since 2020, Ken no longer has a residence permit. He can therefore no longer work as he did before to finance his meals and accommodation. He also cannot receive benefits. A story to sleep up and out.

Holder of a student visa when he arrived in France in 2018, it expired in 2020. With Covid slowing down procedures, he did not obtain renewal on time. During a road check in Dijon, where he studies public law, and despite presenting his Congolese driving license (valid in France for foreign students), he is arrested for possession of false papers.

I continued my studies on the sly. I went to the police station before going to college and I took the exams in secret

The spiral begins. Obligation to leave French territory (OQTF), ban on returning to France and obligation to report to the police station every day for the duration of the procedure, 45 days. “I continued my studies on the sly. I stopped by the police station before going to college and I took the exams in secret. I disobeyed, I did not take the plane: I was in France to finish my studies, I was therefore a criminal. »

Ken gets help, he hires a lawyer. The criminal court orders his release. Despite everything, despite the support and letters from his Master 2 tutor, Ken is still waiting for his residence permit to be renewed. “In Strasbourg, it’s been more than a year and a half since I made my request. Nobody’s answering. The case is still under investigation. »

The Kafkaesque situation leads Ken to despair. This story of a university room comes, even more, to ostracize the student. “I’m studying, I haven’t missed a single day of class in five years. I don’t understand. We are being pushed to suicide there, it is not possible. The noose tightens, it becomes unbreathable, we want to abandon everything. All. I am under such pressure that I can no longer sleep at night and can no longer concentrate on my studies. It’s my last year, it’s crucial: dissertation, internship… how will I hold on? »

As we talk, the phone rings. Ken is in contact with the monitoring and alert unit at the University of Strasbourg which deals with foreign students. It’s good news. The Crous has weakened. Ken will be able to stay in his accommodation until the end of the month before finding another solution.

“His file has been examined. He is a student who has the support of his teachers and who does well. The Unistra solidarity mission obtained aid from the university for him. The question of rent should therefore be quickly resolved,” explains Sophie Roussel, general director of Crous.

I don’t want to return to Congo without a diploma. My mother broke into a thousand pieces for me, this mother sacrificed everything for me, so that I could study.

Ken unpacks his boxes. “Not all of them, just in case.” Because what Ken wants is a roof over his head, of course, but above all “a one-year residence permit. To be able to sleep peacefully, work and pay for my accommodation. I don’t want to return to Congo without a diploma. My mother broke into a thousand pieces for me, this mother sacrificed everything for me, so that I could study. I just want to be restored to my rights, to continue this last year of study. »

To become a lawyer. In France or Gabon. “And help people like me, with regularization and administration problems. » Before his diploma, Ken had already found his vocation in Strasbourg.

According to Crous figures, of the 4,955 students in university residences last year, 29 found themselves affected by a formal notice, of which only one was successful.

Source: Francetvinfo

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