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French President Emmanuel Macron, left, meets with Mamoudou Gassama, 22, from Mali, at the presidential Elysee Palace in Paris, May, 28, 2018. Mamoudou Gassama living illegally in France is being honored by Macron for scaling an apartment building over the weekend to save a 4-year-old child dangling from a fifth-floor balcony.
Thibault Camus/Pool/AP
Citizenship

France's 'Spider-Man' Migrant Is Now Using His Formidable Skills as a Firefighter


Why Global Citizens Should Care
The story of Mamoudou Gassama, a Malian migrant who earned French citizenship through extraordinary courage, raises important questions about the nature of citizenship at a time when there are more refugees and migrants than at any point in recorded history. You can join us by taking action on this issue and the rest of the Global Goals here.

Mamoudou Gassama was on his way to watch a soccer match in Paris a few months ago when he spotted a child dangling from the ledge of an apartment building.

The 22-year old migrant from Mali sprung into action, scaling four stories to rescue the child. People filmed the extraordinary event and the ensuing internet fame catapulted Gassama into a meeting with French President  Emmanuel Macron, where he was awarded citizenship for his daring feat.

Now Gassama has the chance to rescue even more people with the Paris Fire Brigade.

Take Action: Show Your Support for All People No Matter Where They Were Born

“Spider-Man” started his first day with the force on Sunday, joining 23 other new recruits, according to CNN. He had to pass rigorous physical examinations to get admitted.

In his new role, he’ll be fighting fires, rescuing animals, providing emergency life support, conducting lost persons operations, cleaning up pollution sites, and more, according to the department.

Gassama’s remarkable rise comes as France struggles to deal with undocumented migrants and asylum seekers scattered throughout the country.

The country received more than 100,000 requests for asylum in 2017, and this year it’s expected to receive around 200,000 more applications, according to France 24.

Read More: 30,000 Migrants Have Gone Missing in the Sahara Desert

That’s on top of the existing applications from previous years, when migration to Europe began surging.

Not all migrants will be able to win instant citizenship by demonstrating their worth in life-or-death situations.

But all of them are seeking a better life. As Gassama gets adjusted to his new role, his day-to-day work could help show the world how migrants can make valuable contributions to society, if given a chance.

Global Citizen campaigns to help refugees and migrants around the world and you can take action on this issue here.