Partnering to emancipate tomorrow's citizens

by Solidarite Formation Mediation / Clichy La Garenne
Partnering to emancipate tomorrow's citizens
Partnering to emancipate tomorrow's citizens
Partnering to emancipate tomorrow's citizens
Partnering to emancipate tomorrow's citizens
Partnering to emancipate tomorrow's citizens
Partnering to emancipate tomorrow's citizens
Partnering to emancipate tomorrow's citizens
Partnering to emancipate tomorrow's citizens
Partnering to emancipate tomorrow's citizens
Partnering to emancipate tomorrow's citizens
Partnering to emancipate tomorrow's citizens
Partnering to emancipate tomorrow's citizens
Partnering to emancipate tomorrow's citizens
Partnering to emancipate tomorrow's citizens
Partnering to emancipate tomorrow's citizens
Partnering to emancipate tomorrow's citizens
Partnering to emancipate tomorrow's citizens
Partnering to emancipate tomorrow's citizens

During this quarter, the sanitary instructions were still in force, varying from region to region. In April national and more drastic measures were taken: the curfew was at 7 pm and we could not leave our house more than 10 km. Closure of all shops except food carried on. Then the Easter holidays, from April 10 to 24, were made common to everybody in France: no school and no leisure activity. Except for the 2 weeks of holidays, we favored remote work as much as possible and click and collect for restaurants and goods dealers. Appointments for administrative assistance continued at SFM, remote adult classes and workshops with elementary and middle school children and  continued.

A new workshop was tested: the talking circle. It was about putting into practice the transmission and dissemination of the speaking arts.The goal of this shared moment was for children to appropriate a space through their words. Oral language considered being the basis of learning.

The workshop, co-hosted by Ariel Thiébaut, storyteller and Tiffany Duprés, mediator at SFM, took place over two hours on Saturday March 20, 2021.

The proposal for this workshop was made to certain primary school children (from 7 to 11 years old), that we accompany in support to schooling. The profile of the participating children was heterogeneous, some very comfortable in speaking, others a little more inhibited. This choice was voluntary in order to build momentum within the group.

We asked the children to sit in a circle around an imaginary fire, respecting the distances imposed by the health situation. We introduced ourselves first, and then we gave the floor to the children. All stated their first name, class and age. Some children got to know each other through the workshops we share on Wednesday mornings. After the presentations, Ariel, who wore a transparent visor, took the floor to tell us a tale. Surprised and taken aback at first by Ariel's presence, the children were intrigued by the ease with which it is possible to tell a story.

Then we asked them to tell a story, a tale, a dream, a memory, a made-up story. Several hands were raised. Speaking was not compulsory, however. Most of them wanted to participate naturally. They were 8 and each time they spoke, they had the opportunity to remove their mask. But no child did.Listening was essential. When a child wanted to tell a story, he stayed in his place, looked around before exploring his memory and going for it.

Soujoud was the first to speak.Tiffany decided to participate; Having no tale in memory, she evoked a story told a thousand times during family meals. That of her grandfather, little one, who throws firecrackers in his grandmother's basket to scare her. He runs across the fields to escape her, and finds himself punished, tied by the suspenders to the shutter of the house. Feeling uninhibited by this story, the children delivered certain memories, and even tried to make up stories. Rimes told us the story of the three little pigs that everyone knows and whose morals appeal to everyone, Vinushika, the legend of a Hindu god.Everyone's words are listened to with kindness and attention by the rest of the group. Everyone takes hold of the story they have heard which brings out other memories.At the end of the session, all the children expressed their interest and enthusiasm for this workshop, and their wish to participate again. Sorry, no photos, neither records were taken, but it was the first session. 

Ariel's Testimonial

For the first session, you had to let the tongues loosen without restraining the word in order to be able to then refine and tighten naturally on the tales and the logical sequence of the narration in a very specific order. The notion of pleasure and volunteering being essential!

The session began with the viewing of In the land of the tale  (30mn) presenting Suzy Platiel's approach with talking circles. Even if this CNRS video is far from simple, it has the advantage of showing a passionate old lady who explains what pushed her to undertake this storytelling path and to intervene, since the 1980s, in French schools, to disseminate it as an educational tool to recreate the social bond. She insists that mastery of oral and body language is essential in children's development, before requiring them to read and write.

This video made it possible to arouse the questions of the children. Half an hour was devoted to answering them and then "practicing". In my presentation, I emphasized the fact that I loved to listen to as well as to tell stories. I considered them as much as gifts to receive as to give. 7 children of the 8 told some in passing at least 2 times. Vinishika, I believe, was particularly involved in the talking circle with a very strong Indian family heritage. She told stories and beliefs with great conviction.Tiffany, the host also got something up her sleeves by telling a family memory.

So the second hour went by very quickly and I only had 5 minutes to tell an easy-to-memorize “finger hike” for the children to take home with. Below an example of a story with fingers by Christine Righi  Histoires à gestes16. Haskawawa et Hiskiwiwi | Conter 

Suitable for children (nursery and kindergarten), finger stories help develop their sense of observation and interpretation. With these stories, the child learns to decode two languages: oral and gestural.

When the child begins to appropriate stories with his fingers, a whole universe of explorations opens up: psychomotricity, synchronization of speech and gesture, metaphorical use of the hands, sense of the story… put at the service of expression of a sensitivity and of the poetic part that each one carries in oneself.

Yes, SFM still there and open.

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Put off the masks
Put off the masks

Since the new lockdown and the curfew were established...

September the school year starts again. Since then, SFM Clichy has been welcoming children attending school while respecting the constraints linked to the health crisis we are going through. Hours are extended to Saturday to respect the capacities and prevent children from crossing paths. Computer equipment has been lent with face-to-face and remote proposals to ensure that everyone is familiar with digital tools, Time for reflection and sharing to put words about what they feel has been provided...

The result is a strong participation and a renewed motivation, moments of concentration but also of relaxation, giggles and winks!

The Garden Workshop *: children find themselves in an urban context directly linked to the land and take ownership of their environment. Their experiences are related to the literary, artistic, imaginary and symbolic dimensions of nature.

The Workshop of Emotions offers an activity around the expression of emotions by writing short texts using the register of mood notes in a journalistic style: What makes me angry? What is it that revolts me? What makes me happy? What do I enjoy?

It is about allowing children to name, recognize their emotions and write about them. Here are some examples

I LOVE TO BOTHER MY SISTER! I love when she is talking on her phone, I pick it up and run away. She starts screaming and it gets into a fight. I stop on purpose and then five minutes later come back to her side to do whatever.

“IT ANNOYS ME! It annoys me when parents change their middle school kids without asking their advice. It's horrible! Because it has happened to me before! We don't know anyone, we prefer teachers from the old college and we miss our friends so much!”

Close-up on the garden workshop

Stéphane Fall of the Association les Brigades Vertes intervened in the garden of the Association with the children of the Saturday workshop.He first introduced them to the tools that are used to maintain the garden. Through a game of questions and answers and thanks to a visual support, these tools could be identified, named and handled.Then, he showed to them the maintenance of the garden: weeding of a plot which will be planted in spring, then spreading of dead leaves to protect it from the cold while waiting to mulch it and "feeding" the bin of compost.The following week, the children reconstructed from memory the different activities experienced during this session and illustrated them. Some drawings are shown here.

In the garden
In the garden
Stephan explains
Stephan explains
Tool's names
Tool's names
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Since June our operations are back on track and slowly being redefined with the continued presence of the Covid pandemic.

After the lockdown period, it was a shared pleasure to be able to meet again in person with our public (trainees, schoolchildren, babies, beneficiaries...) however difficult the sanitary constraints were (masks, physical distancing, limited group sizes). We have had to profoundly modify our methods and work organization, with always the same objective: provide the means for empowerment to families who live in poor conditions and have been heavily hit by the consequences of the pandemic (unemployment, health, exclusion...).

The changes in working relationships and organization also affect the team. Currently, each member of the team works remotely, at least one day a week. As a result of the obligation of physical distancing, we have extended our working days from Monday through Saturday.

After the summer, we resumed operations at our site, reaching out to old and new trainees, meeting with the parents of our schoolchildren, and re-opening the daycare and notary public services.

We started the face-to-face lessons. However they will be complemented by remote classes, to help with restrictions on space occupation, and more importantly to accelerate the usage and understanding of new technologies by the trainees and schoolchildren. This is a real challenge for our trainers and volunteers, especially when teaching the French language to non-natives and conducting educational workshops for children. Distance and virtual reality impoverish communication, only two of our five senses are at work: hearing and sight. That’s why the team needs to come up with more games and creative actions to grab the trainees ‘attention and stimulate them.

Sanitary constraints have also forced us to rethink the occupancy of our premises and we will have to make major investments to change part of our furniture, an expense which we had not foreseen. We need narrower tables to accommodate for mandatory distancing between students and adjustable items so we can expand our parenting workshops to families with small babies.

Regarding notary public and advisory services, we receive a limited number of visitors, by appointment only to limit the number of persons in the waiting area. Questions about housing remain the most frequently asked.

Fortunately, in January, we welcomed Nora on our staff. Acting greeter, she welcomes newcomers and manages the stream of visitors at the entrance. She is a great help, giving adequate information, guiding the public towards the relevant contact person and sometimes even fulfilling their request !

 As many areas of our society erode (economy, culture, education, etc.), we must, more than ever, care about the progress of our trainees' journey. Assisting parents and schools, finding solutions to their administrative problems, are more than ever necessary to secure the environment of the people we support, children and adults. We don't give up. We will continue to introduce children and adults to the "real accessible world", as it happened during a summer outing to Montmartre. The City of Paris has increased its perimeter of green spaces. We will not let the Covid prevent us from making our interns explore these spaces in imagination and on foot, for their greatest happiness. We will not let the Covid prevent us from breathing, discussing, experiencing the socialization necessary for their/ our personal balance and that of society.

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The COVID-19 pandemic has guided our work since March16th. During the first week, we had to take in the shock: overnight, work as we knew it, stopped. Lockdown was initiated, and everyone went home taking the phone numbers of our trainees and visitors as well as the files necessary for the continued running of operations. Work to organize remote activities started in the next few days, with the following objectives:

 - keep contact with our trainees and frequent visitors,

- offer support and help to fight melancholy,

- compensate for any reduction in subsidies.

This was basically the content of the first message that the Board sent to the employees with a note of comfort: some beauty for the ears and the heart ... from Ella and Louis

Thus, in coordination with the management team, the employees and volunteers spontaneously re-engaged remotely in some of their activities with the means available to the families and trainees. We provided psychological support when necessary. At the beginning of April, we opened a hotline from Monday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and started communicating all useful information on our website and our FB. All activities / contacts were and are recorded day after day.

 When contacted, the families told us that they were mostly fine, even if though they did not go out at all. They were grateful that we kept in touch. At the beginning, the main topics were exchange of news, advice on compensation "offered" by the State according to the parents' situations, resumption of educational support and games.

This allowed us to identify families who did not have the tools necessary to work remotely, so we launched  an apeal to our network (companies and friends) and were provided with 16 laptops that we redistributed. It was quite a surprise to discover the extent of solidarity towards our public.

 One-to-one workshops were time and energy consuming, and as families began to get used to the technology and process of remote training, we progressively developed remote group workshops:  French language training, parenting support groups and workshops, educational support workshops for children, employment workshops...

The families and trainees were most grateful and relieved to be in contact with us.

 We also kept in touch with housing requesters (DALO). Then in April, we decided to launch a phoning campaign towards our most regular senior visitors to offer counselling, inquiring on their material needs, the state of their morale and instruct them on the availability and use of masks. 

During the whole of the lockdown period, the management team were hard at work: closing the 2019 fiscal year, applying to call to projects, and dealing with human resources. Soon they also had to think of preparing for the reopening: taking care of sanitary questions and prevention. It was necessary to comply with the sanitary rules required by the national authorities as well as the Occupational Medicine, establishing protocols in order to resume activities at Drop-in daycare and at our main venue. Once they were validated, the protocols were to be shared with the team, and from today with the visitors.

 The board remained in contact with the team throughout, encouraging, supporting, and overseeing operations. Here is the message the board sent to the volunteers mid-May:

“Dear all,

In continuation of our last email, I wanted with the Board, to inform you in more detail of the measures that will be implemented for the resumption of activities at SFM.

Initially we will only resume activities involving one-to-one interaction: Public writers, intermediaries, including Dalo and reopen the daycare center. Probably June 2. All other activities will continue in the same mode as that adopted during lockdown, ie remote.

The main recommendations concerning the risks have been provided by Occupational Medicine and protocols drafted <…>

I hope you will want to come back to SFM, within this framework. We are looking forward to seeing you there !


 I must say, the continued support of the GlobalGiving community was also of great help. We were so excited for what happened... In March the campaign Little by little was a success, then unexpectedly, SFM was selected by Riot Games (and GlobalGiving) to participate to their League of Legend competition which closed in April ! THANK YOU TO ALL !

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Happy New Year from the schoolchildren of SFM Clic
Happy New Year from the schoolchildren of SFM Clic

The team at SFM Clichy team has entrusted the children who attend our "Schooling support activities" with our best wishes for 2020  !


To all of you who have been with us throughout the year, we hope 2020 brings you the best. May the planned and unforeseen transformations benefit you... like what you bring to SFM.  Thank your continued support.

Since the beginning of the school year in September, young and older children have reinvested in the premises of SFM Clichy. In each sector of activity, the SFM team has welcomed the newcomers: trainees in the Socio-linguistic Workshops (ASL), new families at the daycare center, first graders who have taken over from the older school children who have gone on to high school..

Highlights of these past few months :

"Schooling support activity"

• In September, a back-to-school meeting welcomed children and parents to launch the Schooling Support activity. A moment of complicity for returning families and discovery for all, since the team (partly renewed) shared with them the objectives of the year to come.

• The children can now enjoy a new refurbished library corner, more comfortable and friendlier… much appreciated!

• During the mid-term holidays, they were taken on an outing to the National History of Immigration Museum.

"French socio-linguistics workshops"

• ASL at the forefront of neuroscience research have introduced small gymnastics sessions at the beginning of each course to improve cognitive skills

• Trainees on an outing to the Museum of Romantic Life

Another novelty this fall was the opening with the support of the Orange Foundation and CAF 92 of two introductory workshops on the use of computers and digital devices

• one on monday afternoons, as part of ASL curriculum, a course to learn how to take control of tools and use them in everyday life

• another one friday mornings, open to the general public, to become familiar with data search on internet, digital technology and to be supported and gain some autonomy for one’s online procedures.

Parent / Children meeting
Parent / Children meeting
The new library corner
The new library corner
At the Museum
At the Museum
Gym sessions...
Gym sessions...
At the Museum of Romantic Life (Paris)
At the Museum of Romantic Life (Paris)
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Organization Information

Solidarite Formation Mediation / Clichy La Garenne

Location: Clichy la garenne - France
Facebook: Facebook Page
Project Leader:
valerie chazalon
Clichy la garenne, France
$32,911 raised of $40,000 goal
235 donations
$7,089 to go
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