Economy, Europe

French students line up for food aid as economy worsens

Despite government pledge to provide €1 meals, students find it difficult to get by in pandemic-hit France

Alaattin Dogru   | 03.02.2021
French students line up for food aid as economy worsens


With France's economy hit hard by the novel coronavirus pandemic, university students face difficult circumstances due to the increased cost of living, high rent, and joblessness. 

Though French authorities have promised all students meals for just €1 (around US$1.20), many continue waiting in long lines for food aid.

Students grappling with financial troubles during the pandemic have waited for hours to receive seven-kilogram (15.4 pounds) aid packages despite the cold weather.

Queuing in front of the Linkee charity in the 13th district of Paris, 26-year-old Sebaa, an engineer pursuing a master's degree at Sorbonne University, was laid off six months ago due to economic problems.

"I can't get a scholarship because I am over 25 years old," Sebaa told Anadolu Agency, adding that people younger than 25 received a €150 scholarship, saying this was insufficient to get by in France.

Set to start as a laboratory intern in about two months, Sebaa hopes to be paid approximately €500 to at least resume paying rent.

Veronica, another student who moved from Mexico to France for university, said she lost her part-time restaurant job during the pandemic.

The money she had saved while working ran out two months ago, she said, lamenting that she was having a difficult time getting by.

"I know many students who are in the same situation as me," Veronica told Anadolu Agency.

Veronica accused the French government of "not focusing on finding solutions to the real problems in the country, but instead occupying people with artificial agendas."

Julien Meimon, head of Linkee, told Anadolu Agency that they were giving out their food packages to anyone with a student ID.

Meimon added that they were also distributing hygiene kits to students, comprising of masks, towels, and basic food supplies.

Most people working with Linkee are volunteers, Meimon said, with more than 450 students benefiting from its aid per day.

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