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Diaspo #66 : Mustapha Beggar, helping people with reduced mobility in Brussels

This Moroccan-Belgian national from Casablanca has set up his company in Brussels to help people with reduced mobility in the city.

Mustapha Beggar, a Moroccan businessman in Brussels./Ph. DR
Estimated read time: 2'

Mustapha Beggar left Morocco in the 1960s to build a life in Belgium. Originally from Taroudant, Beggar was planning to return to Morocco but once in Europe he decided to stay in Brussels and bring his wife and children.

In 1967, Mustapha Beggar left Casablanca, where he was born, and arrived in Belgium, most precisely Molenbeek. «I am very proud to be here. I do not want to leave anymore. What we read in the news, you know ... Its not just that», he told Yabiladi, referring to the reputation the Belgian commune has.

When he was 22 years old, Mustapha Beggar was hired by a taxi company but he got tired of being just a simple employee. «I worked there for a year and then I started my own business. I wanted to evolve and do something other than being just a simple employee», he said.

Today, aged 58, he is at the head of an operational taxi company «throughout Brussels». Of the 100 vehicles that his company owns, 30 are dedicated to the transport of people with reduced mobility.

«Morocco is a very big part of me»

In the early 1990s, Willem Draps, then Brussels Secretary of State for Paid Transportation, suggested introducing taxis adapted to people with disabilities. «I found a social interest. For me, it was a possibility to offer an extra service to people who have difficulty to move around. I told myself that if I were in this case, I would be happy to be able to move much more easily. It was also a way to improve the image of taxis in general», says Mustapha Beggar.

«The only taxi company that believed in this project is mine. The adaptation of cars requires a very heavy investment. It is necessary to count 9000 euros without taxes for a single vehicle. We started with five vehicles that crisscrossed Brussels».

Mustapha Beggar

In his early days, the company manager had his vehicles adapted far from Brussels, even in the Netherlands. Today, he is making his own adaptations in his studio in rue des Béguines, in Molenbeek, explained the newspaper La Capitale. «Initially, I was actually going to have my vehicles adapted to kits manufacturers I bought new, 100 km from Brussels and the Netherlands. I had several adapters. From one thing to another, I thought that I could do this myself to reduce costs», he says.

The social and humanitarian aspect holds an important place in his life. Involved in various associations in Brussels, he has not forgotten the environment from which he comes. «My father, from Taroudant, arrived in Casablanca at the age of 15 to find a job. My mother comes from the Marrakech region. She also came to Casablanca to work as a maid. We come from a very, very poor family», he recalls. And despite these five decades in Belgium, he does not forget his native Morocco : «I return to Morocco on average once a year minimum. These are my roots, even though I have not lived there much. It's a very big part of me.»

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