The city of Diego-Suarez, in northern Madagascar has a new identity. Only a few years ago, it was the theater of all sorts of crimes committed by armed gangs known as the ‘foroches’ which means wild ones, in the local Malagasy language. Today, Local authorities are reintegrating young offenders involved in organized gangs and training them in different vocational skills in a project known as ‘Secren’.
This project is supported by the International Labor Organization, which is providing funding for its development. Vial Lucet is the director of the project. According to him “the ILO is providing the funding needed for theoretical and practical training, while also providing funding for starter kits once the young people leave the centre”. José Pouely is a former gang member of ‘foroches’. He used to fight with rival gang members mostly about girls but today he fixes traditional fishing boats. “My father used to build wooden boats, and I wanted to do the same as him, he says.
Police still patrol the streets of Diego-Suarez to boost security and discourage crime, but more importantly they are raise awareness bout the training programme. Since the launch of the project in 2016, more than 200 young people have received training in electromechanics,computer graphics, and carpentry. As a result, many young people in Diego-Suarez can now avoid the prisons and have a chance at a better livelihood.