Education, equal opportunities

Archives 20.02.2024

Every year, projects spring up all over the world with the single aim of breaking the circle of poverty by acquiring greater economic and intellectual autonomy. Education and equal opportunity are the fundamental pillars. In particular, we support local school communities by building and renovating schools, making books available in remote areas, and providing access to schools. The second area is support for isolated, illiterate women, through the development of micro-projects in the craft, commercial or family sectors.

Sharana (Pondicherry, Tamil Nadu, South India) January 2016

Sharana is a sustainable development association whose aim is "to give individuals the means to become self-sufficient".
It works with populations in difficulty in the Pondicherry region and runs development programs in the economic, educational, health and social fields.
It facilitates access to schooling through sponsorship, access to employment through training and project financing through micro-credit.

Rajkala Partha, its founder and president, explains to us the importance of supporting these children who are left to fend for themselves on the streets, victims of sexual abuse, destined for prostitution or delinquency.
Indeed, the major problem of this very poor population is alcoholism, both that of the parents and that of the children themselves, who often work very early on to bring in extra income for their families.

The Maison Gayatri has developed a program called "Street and Slum", a home for children from the slums. For this new project, Rajkala has teamed up with Fonds du Coeur, an association created by Nathalie Payraudeau, whom we meet that day.

We were particularly interested in the development of a new mobile library project that travels to remote villages to introduce children to the world of books and give them the pleasure of reading, the key to accessing knowledge and acquiring greater intellectual autonomy.

La Folie Lodge - Done Daeng Island, Southern Laos - February 2016

Don Daeng, the "Red Island", is home to eight small villages, traversed on foot, by bike, on small motorcycles or strange tractors. No cars and few tourists, except those who relax and enjoy the natural, tranquil surroundings at La Folie Lodge.

Founded in 2009 by Antoine de Noailles and managed at the time by Axel Wolkenhauer, La Folie Lodge, as well as building a series of attractive bungalows, has decided to support the island's communities. In particular, by restoring or enlarging the modest village schools and helping to renovate the only dispensary. These subsidies are shared between Folie Lodge, customer-partners and sponsors such as Paysages Humains.

We visit two schools, in Ban Haxay and Simongkhoon, followed by the dispensary, projects that are nearing completion. Axel shows us the new project to expand the Ban Pualao school to accommodate 56 pupils and three teachers.

The work is estimated at around $5,000.
* The creation of additional classrooms by extending the building.
* The digging of toilets
* The purchase and installation of a pump to provide the children with drinking water (the water is 30m deep).

The work, which began in March 2016, will be completed in September 2016. The equipment, tables and chairs, were made by the village carpenter, as were the walls and other paintwork by members of the community (with the exception of the electrical work and the installation of the pump, which required the intervention of a professional).

Hung and the Hong Han Association - Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam - March 2016

Vu Dinh Hung is a man who dedicates his life to others.
Organizing small groups of volunteers among his contacts to carry out one-off actions in the provinces, he provides medical and dental care and medicines to underprivileged children (or those suffering from HIV), ethnic minorities and the elderly. It generally works hand-in-hand with local religious charities (Catholic and Buddhist) who act as local intermediaries.

Other activities include visits and entertainment for children - with clowns, jugglers, small theaters and even hairdressers - on the occasion of local festivals, during which the volunteers distribute sweets, school materials, milk, mooncakes...
Longer-term projects are carried out in collaboration with the HONG AN association.
The project to build a bridge (or even two) in the Mekong delta caught our attention. Bridges that would enable schoolchildren to get to school more directly, without having to swim across the many waterways and, sadly, often drown.
These infrastructures require substantial funding.

In February 2016, they were able to complete a first bridge.
Construction of the second bridge will be launched in a few days' time.

Yusra Community Center - Istanbul, Turkey - March 2017

In 2017, we decided to support a welcome and education project in Istanbul.
Located in the Balat district on the banks of the Golden Horn, the YUSRA Community Center was set up by Shahla Raza, in April 2016.
Shahla is Indian, having set up a similar organization in Bombay, and when we got to know her we felt very close by the experience we had in Pondicherry with Sharana and the Gayatri House.
Her aim is to create a place of safety and comfort for refugee children from Syria, coming mainly from the small towns around Aleppo.

Yusra is staffed by volunteers, and welcomes children aged 4 to 7, providing meals, school activities and reading material.
Very cramped when it was first set up, with around 60 children, it soon expanded into a small 4-storey building to differentiate age groups and develop new activities: art therapy, library and new means of subsistence for the women (cooking, catering, gardening).
Closer to home, it was as a neighbor that we decided to support this generous organization.