There is a deep unease among the youth living in the suburbs of French cities. Most of these young people are born in families who have emigrated from other parts of the world and many from former French colonies. They suffer from identity crises, school dropout and have a difficulty to see how their future will be like. They do not feel accepted and respected by the French society.
They believe that they are not “real French people” but victims of society. At the end of the year 2015 youth violence exploded in France, which lasted several weeks. Each night, cars were burnt in different cities. The desire to confront society can lead to radicalization. Several hundreds of young people left France to join Daesh in Syria. The great anxiety of the French authorities focuses on those who are manipulated by jihadist recruiters and trained in order to perpetrate terrorist attacks on the French soil.
Focus of the project
The OUI ACT project brings a specific contribution to this challenge by building trust between young people and the society, specifically targeting the divides between young people are the police, local authorities and teachers. Through working in partnerships with schools in marginalized communities, the project addresses social and cultural divides and reduces the temptation to break links with society and drift toward radicalism.
France Project Team
Hélène Branco- Déléguée Générale
Hélène is the official representative of the Association Initiative of Change France, supervising the programme, in charge of Finance.
Christian Demesy - Head of program
Christian is one of the founders and content designer of OUI ACT and facilitator. He has been a fiscal expert in an international company called Total. He travelled in different foreign countries and is familiar with multiculturalism. He also worked as a project manager. Finally, he has been a teacher in Ecole Nationale des Impôts (National Highschool of Taxes), Educational Consultant for the Ministry of Finances and is actually a teacher in Master 2 for students in a university.
Pierre Speldooren - Coordinator of the program
Pierre also serves as a facilitator, bringing 32 years of experience in facilitating activities with adults and children. He was a director of a “Youth House” in sensitive suburban areas for 15 years.
Frédéric is one of the founders, designer of OUI ACT, and facilitator. He has been full time worker with IofC all his life. He has developed facilitation skills through his long experience as facilitator of meetings (20 to 400 people), cultural cafés, discussion groups, and political dialogues.
Maylis Guillou-Kérédan - In charge of communication and facilitator
Since she started working, she has been passionate about children’s rights and communication. Working with IofC France, she was given the chance to do both.
Facilitator with a long experience of facilitation with children and in intercultural dialogue.
Facilitator and member of the pedagogic team as French citizen from Tunisian background. In Trappes, in the West suburb of Paris, she is the founder and president of the association “Les mamans du Coeur” (the mothers of the heart) which takes care of teenagers, lonely mothers and mothers of children who left France for Syria and which develops relationships of solidarity and mutual service within the local community.
Jonathan Levy - Adviser for the pedagogy
Educator in pedagogy for teachers, trainers and educators, he designs and facilitates pedagogy training programs in the fields of education, social work, intergovernmental organizations and NGOs. In addition, he is a consultant in pedagogy of children’s rights for UNESCO and UNICEF. Moreover, he is the vice-president of the Janusz Korczak international Association and a member of HCFEA (Haut Conseil de Famille, Enfance et de l’Age).