Marseille: ‘School in the present’, a gift given to children in great precariousness

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Jane Bouvier founder of “School in the Now” © DR / BDx

We are in 2012, Roma being driven out of a residential area in Marseille’s northern districts before the inhabitants set fire to the remains of their camp. Jane Bouvier will understand she is going to meet the Roma, discovering children who have not been to school. Trained as a clinical psychologist and teacher, she can not stand this situation. She then mobilized, evenings and weekends, to train them before setting up the association in 2014. ” School now to maintain its action. ” I do not accept that not all people have the same rights “, explains Jane Bouvier, who says:” You need to know what it is for the water you need to pick up for food, drink … Rainy days where the soil remains soaked for several days, the absence of shoes. In France, children live in precarious conditions that we can not imagine “. She talks about the Romans: They’re at the end of the line in terms of rejection, and that does not change … until they meet a caring person. “.

Jane Bouvier crosses paths with Albanian and Bulgarian children …

But make no mistake about it, fate is hard, not only for the Roma, Jane Bouvier crosses the road for Albanian children, Bulgarians …, children from any country living in slums, squats, sleeping in degraded cars or condominiums : ” This is where it’s hardest to work. These are “no man’s countries” where no one goes but where I manage to get in when I’m alone “. And in this way, 1,000 children have been supported in 10 years.” Today, some children go to high school, others work. I saw one of them a short time ago who got a job at SNCF and he told me that his family had found housing “.

She comes to her relationship with the municipality: “ I have never had a blockage, under the former municipality I managed to register the children and they enjoyed the free canteen, but what has changed with the new municipality is that things are going very fast and there is no more evacuation during school hours, which is a real plus, because when a child has to change schools several times a year, it is over, the child can not keep up “.

“Teachers change lives”

In addition to the City Hall in Marseille, Jane Bouvier would like to thank the teachers: ” They do an extraordinary job. They say they’re just doing their job, that’s not true. It goes far beyond that. I think of the private lessons given to give the children the opportunity to catch up; to the teacher who let a little girl wander around the classroom for weeks to adjust. I think of the little boy whose burnt feet they treated with too small shoes and their search for another pair. I think of the teachers’ attention to the parents, especially to this father who on the first day was so worried about leaving his child at school that he rang the bell every ten minutes to get news. I’m thinking of this teacher who goes to find kids to ride bikes on the weekends with his family … So yeah, teachers change lives “.

National Education is not up to par

On the other hand, she believes that National Education is not on par. ” Principal Bernard Beignier came to spend a day in the slums. The problem does not arise at its level, but at the national level. We need more places for these children, especially in college, the national education must take more account of the situation of street children in France. It is necessary that children in great precariousness be recognized in the texts “And she does not hide that she has been a little sad of the situation reserved for Ukrainians. ” I took care of Ukrainian families, I made requests to send the children to college, and there the Rectorate calls me to tell me that the procedure for them is different, that places are reserved for them. I love these children, but why what is possible for some is not for others “. On the side of the City Hall of Marseille, an elected official emphasizes:” Today we know that funds can be unlocked. We will not forget it “.

Benoît Payan: “I would never have imagined the reality you made me discover”

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Jane Bouvier and the Mayor of Marseilles, Benoît Payan © DR / BDx

Jane Bouvier then wishes to pay tribute to the work done by the judges of the Marseille Juvenile Court: ” What they do is extraordinary, I learn things at every hearing. For seven years we have performed together, and thanks to this, children have seen their lives change It also thanks its partners from the Fondation de France and the Abbé Pierre Foundation, leading partners. She does not forget “Vacances Léo Lagrange”, who knew how to be there in an emergency to find school bags.

Benoît Payan is present at this demonstration and addresses Jane Bouvier, he admits: ” I thought I knew my city. I would never have imagined the reality that you made me discover “.” Of course, he continues, you allow children to go to school, but what you do goes beyond what you give their dignity back to people. You do what no one does. You are with the invisible, with those who lower their heads “. And he launches: I just want to say thank you. Without you, this city would not be quite what it is “.

Michel CAIRE

The cartoon “Sabi and Tereza”

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A cartoon to tell the story © DR / BDx

Sabi and Tereza is Jane Bouvier’s first cartoon with drawings by Diane Morel. Jane Bouvier would like to clarify: ” I tell the living conditions, but it’s not a matter of being miserable. The children have found a magical object. It is a joyful, hopeful book with children who love school . In their shantytown, they share everything and play in the middle of huts built from recycled materials. Driven by the courage of their family and the goodwill of their teacher, Sabi and Tereza together will discover the joy of words. Tereza develops quickly and loves to read. mysterious little lady helps Sabi gain confidence and cultivate a love of learning.

“Sabi and Tereza”, by Jane Bouvier and Diane Morel, La Pimpante editions, 14 euros, for sale in bookstores


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