Since 1866, Apprentis d’Auteuil has devoted itself to caring for, training, educating of young people and families in social, family or educational difficulties. The Foundation, recognized of public utility, manages more than 240 establishments, from the nursery to the continuous training centre to the social centre for children. In this way, it welcomes over 30,000 young people and 6000 families in France, to which another 15,000 young people and families in more than 30 countries can be added thanks to local partners.
During the first lockdown in France, between 5 and 8% of pupils had no access to their teachers. Released by the French Ministry of Education, these figures cannot possibly express the loneliness and degree of disorientation underlying this reality.
A major effort was needed to help prevent, as far as possible, the risk of dropping out of school or losing a job. This is the mission that Apprentis d’Auteuil continued as soon as the country began grinding to a halt.
The imposition of the nationwide lockdown on 16 March marked the start of an un-precedented period for Apprentis d’Auteuil: 55 intense, unheard of, worrying, painful, sometimes joyous days, spent in the service of young people and families, alongside them or remotely.
Nicolas Truelle, DG d’Apprentis d’Auteuil
To do so, Apprentis d’Auteuil had to quickly learn how to work differently. Many of their educational and training establishments found themselves closed from one day to the next, with the exception of the ones that were requisitioned to take in the children of medical personnel.
The watchword for this period was continuity of education. So, the most important thing was to maintain a normal routine to enable the children to remain focused while alternating intellectual, physical and creative work, and having fun.
Responding to the emergency
The clear priority was to provide comfort and assistance for the most isolated and vulnerable. That is the reason for the creation of the solidarity fund “Urgences COVID-19”, intended to be used to distribute materials nationwide.
The fund, with more than a million euros collected, was financed by 25 foundations and businesses, including the Societe Generale Group, which has always been a supporter of Apprentis d’Auteuil’s activities.
Whereas as part of the campaign concerned educational matters with the purchase of computers, access to 4G and holiday type homework books, a large part of the budget was devoted to providing leisure activities to keep the children occupied during this testing time.
So, artistic and sporting activities helped to entertain and channel thousands of children in lockdown. On the one hand, there were indoor games such as puzzles, board games, painting, colouring, etc. And, on the other, equipment such as balls, rackets, nets, frisbees, bikes, scooters, etc.
In the end, a total of 5,796 young people and families benefited from this support in 108 establishments located all over France and the French overseas departments.
A campaign that will obviously continue as a second lockdown has just begun.