Ramata, who migrated from Senegal to France to join her family
This migrant story is included in Dia, Chapter 22 of the volume
Ramata was born in 1980 in Dakar, Senegal to parents who had arrived from the Middle Valley in the mid-1970s. She is the oldest of three sisters and three brothers. Her father started as a street vendor and then opened a fabric stall in a large market on the outskirts of Dakar. Her mother stayed at home, raising the children and looking after the household. All the children went to school, an outcome of their father’s desire to see his children move up the social ladder. His business allowed him to feed the family, consisting of his wife and children and relatives arriving from the village. Ramata stayed in school until eighth grade but encountered difficulties in obtaining the diploma that would have enabled her to continue to secondary school. The two brothers following her in age dropped out, one after the baccalauréat, the other after two unsuccessful years at university. In 1999, Ramata married a cousin in France who was originally from the same village and whom her parents had housed during his years in Dakar as a carpenter. In 2001, she benefitted from the family reunification procedure and joined her husband in the Paris banlieue. She took advantage of the fact that she could speak some French and found a job in a restaurant. Two years later, she brought the brother who had dropped out of university to France; he married a French-born cousin a year later. Later, Ramata and her brother brought over the second brother, with help of a scholarship, his parents being unable to cover the cost of his studies. Ramata and her two brothers subsequently paid for the two youngest sisters to study at private universities. The sisters found work in Senegal in the private sector and are now married to managers. The youngest brother completed medical studies financed by Ramata and her brothers and is currently practicing in a public hospital.