You can be a salesperson, a sandwich course student and a volunteer at the same time!

His name is Louis; he’s 26 years old, head of commercial tasks at Sodexo in Paris, and in the final year of his sandwich course Master’s programme. He decided to take 7 days off last December to help refugees from North Iraq with the association “Fraternité en Irak”. He tells us about his humanitarian engagement.

Louis has always been committed; “I was already doing charity work helping homeless people, and I had already mentored young students during prep classes at Montpellier Business School. Inspired by the values of social utility and aware of the situation in the Middle East, I joined the “Fraternité en Irak” association in the partnership and fundraising hub to raise money for minorities affected by terrorism and human insanity.”  

Since 2010, the association has developed many projects such as supplying tonnes of medication, giving water filters to the poorest of families, and notably the construction of a multifaith school (the only one in Iraq) in Kirkuk that has 2 objectives: to allow students to get a proper education and to allow minorities to grow up together with the aim of providing a peaceful environment for the reconstruction of the country. The ensemble of projects was made possible thanks to donators, and the school opens a new class this year taking the total of students to 120. Since the summer of 2014, the association has provided urgent help to families in the form of food, medication and warm clothes to combat the cold winter in North Iraq. 

For Christmas, he decided to go to Iraq with a group of 8 members from the association: “I landed in Erbil (North Iraq and capital of Kurdistan) after a stopover in Jordan. The objective of the mission was to spend Christmas with the refugees in 3 different places. I was in a town called Alqosh, a town that has welcomed more than 3,000 refugees since the start of the summer. During our stay, we met the survivors of Mt. Sinjar who told us about the siege on their village. During the mission, we handed out around 200 baskets of food for the poorest, which doesn’t seem like much but it’s vital for the families - people in the camps feel abandoned and isolated. During the mission, the association put money into Erbil; a new health clinic, a team to clean the camps, the organisation of water deliveries, and the arrangement of an activities centre for women. We were also there to determine the needs of people in order to accompany them while they arranged their spaces, and set up projects to purchase a cistern, to create a baker’s and to help people return to their villages.”

Facing a deprived population, Louis says: “The refugees have lost everything: their homes, their work, and a lot of them have no news about their family members. Despite this, they welcomed us with so much generosity, sharing the little they had with us. Seeing the joy that keeps them going over this Christmas period was a special moment and one of my most beautiful Christmases.”

And at the start of the final part of his degree, Louis says: “Helping others gives meaning to my life. Working in business is mostly about earnings and profitability, so giving my time to those in need makes me feel less self-centred and more humane.”

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