African Immigrants Form Co-op in Barcelona

Mame Mbaye spent almost half his life selling imitation perfumes in the centre of Madrid, but what he really loved was cooking. He dreamed of one day working behind the stove of a good restaurant. “He never had the chance to do what he really loved,” lamented his colleagues in the days following his death.

It was their way of explaining that no one chooses to be a mantero; no one risks their life and their savings, leaves their family and their country to end up like that. 
“If there were decent work, no one would be selling on the streets,” insists Alioune Thiam. He managed to escape that life some years ago and is now part of the Diomcoop cooperative, a groundbreaking project, backed by the Barcelona City Council, to help street vendors break free from illegality.

Diomcoop provides street vendors with training and helps them to apply for their papers. They, in return, switch from selling fake goods to legal merchandise, mainly African handicraft and fashion items.

Read the rest at Equal Times


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