vendredi, octobre 19, 2007

A dialogue with changemakers, Quinlan’s Family starts Apprends-Moi

1. How did you come to the idea to donate books? Why books?
We became convinced long ago of the importance of access to education in order to realize true development. Books are a very simple way of accessing knowledge. In addition, learning the English language provides Francophiles a very important tool for accessing employment opportunities and additional education.

2. Why did you choose Congo? How did you start to collaborate with AZUR? Why AZUR? Are you happy with the cooperation?

Jen and I were in a graduate program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison studying French Studies and International Development (Chris) and French Studies and Education (Jen). I came into contact with AZUR as I was looking for an internship with an NGO doing development work in a francophone country.

After interning with AZUR and continuing our relationship with them for a couple of years, we decided that in order to be more effective in our work we needed to form our own non-profit organization. As an NPO we would be able to access grants and expand the work that we wanted to do.

We value the partnership with AZUR a great deal because we are able to work with an NGO who is very involved in grassroots development in a francophone country. The mission of Apprends-Moi International is to promote cultural and educational exchange between francophone and Anglophone culture. We are very happy with our partnership with AZUR and look forward to continuing and developing that relationship.

3. What are the origins of "Apprends Moi"? Why and when was it established? Why is it so special and what makes it different from the other organizations active in the development field?

Jen and I started Apprends-Moi International (AMI) in 2007 to facilitate the realization of our mission; to promote cultural and educational exchange between francophone and Anglophone culture. What makes AMI unique is our focus on the franco-anglo exchange, with a strong emphasis on education.

4. How do you manage your daily activities? How do you work?
Jen and I work in tandem with the support of about a dozen volunteers. Jen and I handle all of the administrative/back office work. Volunteers help with the collection, sorting, boxing, storing, moving of books and seeking out resources for donations.

5. What kind of response did you get from the society? What have you managed to do so far? What is your biggest success? What are the biggest difficulties?

Response to the work we are doing has been excellent. We have had many people express interest in what we are doing and offer their support. Our biggest success has been with book donations. We have had tons of books donated. Our biggest challenge has been raising the money to send the books and finding shippers who will sip the books for a reasonable cost to Brazzaville.

6. Do you have any plans for the future activities? If yes, can you reveal some?

We hope to facilitate student exchange between Francophone countries and the United States. We also hope to establish a retreat here in the United States where Francophiles can come for cultural and educational exchange.

We would be also very happy if you agree to share with us some personal details :) What do you do for living?

Chris works for Heifer International, an international non-profit working to end hunger and poverty and acre for the Earth ( Jn is an editor for an alternative health and healing magazine that explores natural ways to stay healthy and fit and live a holistic life.

Have you ever visited Congo? Not yet what were your impressions, if yes? What is your passion?
We love our children (3 boys Michael – 7, Mathieu-5, Christopher-Marc-1), we love to be outdoors camping and hiking, and we enjoy travel and learning.

What are the things you can not support? And the last question but for me always the most difficult – Why do you do this? What kind of satisfaction – if any - does it bring to you?

We want to do something in life that helps others in a meaningful way. We want to teach our children the importance of living life for others and that love is an action verb. We gain enormous satisfaction out of doing something that helps others.

Interview done by Kasia.

Aucun commentaire: