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Saturday, July 2, 2022

How an association relies on rugby without borders to break down barriers

The youngest is 17, the oldest 43. Their names are Junior, Momin, Pauline, Lionel. Congolese, French, Palestinian or Gabonese, they are about forty to meet every Monday evening to share a training of touch rugby which is good for bodies and minds. Initially, the No Limitit’s a great tournament of rugby festive and lively, open to all, the 5th edition of which will be held this weekend at Launaguet. But since 2018, the association has had another vocation: that of integrating people in exile, by offering them a playground coupled with a real path to professional integration.

How an association relies on rugby without borders to break down barriers
Junior and his teammates in training. – M.-D. Lacour – 20 Minutes

Here we play with five, like the fingers of one hand. No performance logic. “We let off steam and above all we have fun! “says Pauline Louge, responsible for the socio-sports part. But if their happiness to play together is communicative, behind the smiles, shadows sometimes pass. “I spent every night crying. And watching the news had become impossible,” says Junior gently. Of Congolese nationality, living in Ukraine for almost ten years as a teacher, he fled the war a few weeks ago. No Limit rugby “gave him strength” to face this second uprooting and move forward. He now helps others benefit by volunteering French lessons to Ukrainian refugees in Toulouse, some of whom in turn join the rugby team.

A double accompaniment on the ground and much further

Often newcomers are very reserved. According to Pauline, “the collective helps them gain confidence, develop their soft skills [compétences générales] and their level of French, the first step to make them “hirable”. Then, we try to teach them the codes for going to a job interview or having a successful first day at work. The association goes further: it has developed partnerships with several Toulouse companies and wants to provide them with qualified and motivated candidates. “Most of the players have foreign diplomas which are difficult to assert in France, specifies Pauline. We help them find the gateways to a job that really suits them and that makes sense, not just an unskilled job. »

Some come for the sport. Lionel, an accountant, arrived following an injury: first laid off at Touwin Rugby Club who plays a classic game, he joins the No Limit because touch rugby (without tackles) is less violent for the body. But it is not the only reason. “I came from Gabon in 2006 for my studies. I know the feeling of being far from home, exile, administrative hassles, the constant fear of not being in order, he explains. I was touched by the association’s message. As for Hanry, 17, he has found “his sport” in addition to “a real family”. Previously a footballer in Cameroon, the youngest who plays on the field will soon play winger in a club with XV.

Insert No Limit

“In France, I love cooking, cheese… and gender equality,” says Momin, very serious with his big smile. Palestinian, he arrived in France three years ago without speaking a word of French. Hard to believe, when this very “ideal son-in-law” young man unfolds his journey in the language of Molière with humor and subtlety. “It’s not easy to understand the little things of daily life when you come from a very different culture. For example, here people talk very loudly in public transport, he laughs. At first I found it fascinating, I said to myself: how lucky they are to be so comfortable! »

On his own, he is living proof that the integration process works. First a player, he found thanks to the team his job on a permanent contract as head of the local branch ofCitizen Oval, another association at the service of integration through sport. At the same time, he continues No Limit training and uses his large network to recruit new players.

For the curious, the No Limit training sessions, on Monday evenings at the Maison du Rugby in Les Argoulets, are open to everyone. The association does not require any membership fees. Because as Momin says, “money, what for? We pass the ball and good humor here. You just have to come with her! »

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