“To shift one’s perspectives, this is the absolute richness of this training time”
201 new students, of 30 different nationalities, have joined our Regional Training Center for Europe in this new school year 2020, two weeks after their 37 classmates in Dakar. On Monday 21 September, a welcome ceremony gave them the opportunity to meet their sponsor, Bénédicte Schutz, Director of Monaco’s International Cooperation Office, but also to pay tribute to Stella and Nadifa, murdered last August in Niger.
Between remembrance and call to action
In the presence of numerous Bioforce partners (Handicap International, Médecins du Monde, Greater Lyon, City of Vénissieux, Rectorate of Lyon…), the new students were welcomed by Bernard Sinou, President of Bioforce. He invited these 201 future humanitarians, “the next strike force to take action for vulnerable populations“, to “take advantage of this privileged time to take on a new dimension, through training and through what you will bring to each other“. He also pointed out how happy the entire Bioforce team was to welcome them “face-to-face” in the health context we all know.
Tribute to Stella et Nadifa
The two young women, both Bioforce graduates (2017 and 2019), are among the eight victims of the attack that took place on August 9 in Niger. Diane Cadiergue, their training coordinator, called on the students to find comfort and support within their new community: “Today an apprentice, tomorrow a professional humanitarian: your training at Bioforce will bring you many things, but it will not immunize you from suffering. The one you will meet in the field, the one that justifies humanitarian action, the one that may one day be yours. No vaccine, but a remedy: solidarity.”
Meet the sponsor
The assembly of new students was then able to meet their sponsor, Bénédicte Schutz, Director of Monaco’s International Cooperation Office and a former humanitarian herself. Bénédicte Schutz delivered a few messages in an enthusiastic speech: “A training course is made to stop getting agitated from within, to ask oneself the right questions, and to shift one’s perspectives, this is the absolute richness of this break year”. She added: “Humanitarian work is one of the rare fields in which one rarely experiences a professional existential crisis at 40 years of age. Because situations and people change all the time. Because it remains a passion, a calling“.
And the class sponsor encouraged her students to achieve ikigai’s principle: “To achieve wholeness and fulfillment, one must strive to synthesize four things: what one loves, what one is good at, what one is paid for, and what the world needs. Passion, calling, profession, mission! “
“Take care of yourself”
Among the former students who came to share their experiences with their successors, Thomas, logistics coordinator with Médecins sans Frontières, who has just returned from Yemen and is ready to leave for Greece: “It was one of the best years of my life. You live intense moments with the training coordinators, situations experienced in training resurface when you are in the field“. He also gave some advice to future humanitarians: “Take care of yourself, even if it’s the hardest thing to do, because the risk is to consider as normal things that are not. It’s crucial to know when you’re at the end of your rope, because you lose your ability to help others“. The same goes for Denis Ricca, Alumni’s representative on Bioforce’s Board, who also encouraged them to forge as many bonds as possible with the populations in the countries where they work. A new student brought the most beautiful conclusion to this morning: “I am amazed by this sharing of emotions, energies and testimonies, it is even more than I expected and I thank you for it“.
201 new students have joined the Bioforce Regional Training Center for Europe
Diane, their training coordinator, pays tribute to Stella and Nadifa
Masked students, in compliance with health measures
Some students followed the ceremony from other rooms
Bénédicte Schutz, the 2020 students’ sponsor
Experience sharing, with Thomas, Bioforce Alumni, Céline Fayolle (Handicap International), Laurent Bacos (Médecins du Monde) and Denis Ricca, Bioforce Alumni
Bénédicte Schutz, the 2020 sponsor, surrounded by two of the new students