Lockdown and commitment: hear from 2 committed employees

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During the more than two months long lockdown, many Societe Generale employees continued their solidarity actions with the Foundation’s partner associations, despite the difficulties imposed by this tilme period. Discover the commitment of Jean-Christophe and Myrna, mentors for refugees with our partner association Kodiko.

Kodiko and the Société Générale Foundation

Kodiko’s mission is to support people who have been granted refugee status or subsidiary protection in France for less than 4 years. The association offers beneficiaries a group and individualized support program, over a period of 6 months, renewable once. This accompaniment is two-folded:

  • work in tandem with a volunteer professional, close in terms of profile or sector of activity, in a partner company, with dedicated resources of job search
  • support workshops designed for this specific audience

Partner of the Foundation since 2018, dozens of Societe Generale employees commit to the program every year in Ile-de-France, Tours, Orléans and Strasbourg.
 

Myrna and Jean-Christophe's testimonies

Jean-Christophe, business manager at Vincennes, had never engaged in a solidarity action with Société Générale, but had been thinking about it for a long time. This is how he registered for an information session about the sponsorship program offered by Kodiko thanks to the support of the Societe Generale Foundation. On 25 February, he, Myrna and 13 other Societe Generale employees attended the launch day of the Ile-de-France promotion called Corneille. This promotion brings together committed employees of various Kodiko partner companies, as well as refugees. Once this day is over, pairs of refugees are created. Myrna, HR assistant, very sensitive to the topic of employment among refugees in France wanted to get committed for a long time for this cause on her working hours. At the same time as Jean-Christophe, she was put in touch with the person who will become her partner for the next 6 months. The physical meeting between the refugee and the collaborator was to take place in March.

Adapting to the circumstances

The 2 employees, recently connected with their partners, soon felt disoriented. The meeting was cancelled due to the lockdown Jean-Christophe, who mentors a young woman who wishes to join the banking sector, felt helpless because this sponsorship action is based on regular, face-to-face contacts in his working environment. Of course, these contacts became impossible. The action had just started and the pair had not even met yet ! 

The same is true for Myrna: she was caught up with an extensive load of work, the organization of life at home and other family imperatives, and she did not feel able to start her engagement with her partner until mid-April. She is very grateful to her Konecteur, that is, her contact within the Kodiko association that accompanies each duo, which relieved her guilt and helped her initiate the relationship.

So why did both decide to continue this program despite all the difficulties imposed by the lockdown? For Jean-Christophe, that was absolutely clear. It seemed obvious to her that his partner needed his help and assistance all the more as her already difficult situation became even more so. He also said that the life course that led her to seek refuge in France by abandoning her family, her friends, her country, her culture had to represent a much more violent cataclysm than that linked to the COVID-19 crisis. The same thing happened with Myrna. Lockdown was not going to stop them from continuing their commitment.

 

To continue and initiate this relationship, the 2 pairs showed a lot of flexibility and adaptability on a daily basis, with the tools and means put at their disposal. Jean-Christope’s objective was clear: not to break the bond and avoid falling into isolation.  On Myrna's side, the pair has worked hard, with six meetings organized and a total of fifteen hours of exchanges. The person she accompanies shows exemplary resilience and Myrna helps her see the “good side” of the situation: she finally has time to clarify her job-search action plan, as new opportunities arise with this crisis.

The goal was clear: not to break the recently created bond and avoid falling into isolation

Jean-Christophe

The conclusion is clear: the lockdown did not deter the committed employees from continuing their action, and did not discourage the people accompanied, who increased their efforts to draw the good sides of this context. Thanks to their creativity to create a strong bond differently, the program was able to continue and is creating an even stronger link between participants in the program. Jean-Christophe and Myrna are looking forward to brighter days to accelerate the program to help with the integration of their better half !