What You Do Now Determines Your Life Not Your Past The Story of Nathalie #Africa4Her


Deeply touched by the difficulties faced by young girls at Lycée de Beau-Bassin College in Mauritius, she felt that she had to engage herself more to bring positive change.  Her encounters with youngsters in difficult situations triggered in her the desire and need to do something to improve the lives of these youngsters. Regularly she heard other fellow teachers say that the children were difficult to handle because they came from split families and families with difficulties and issues.

 

Through her own personal story of coming from a split family and having changed 3 foster homes, she is the living testimony that coming from a split family does not define what a child can truly achieve  and be in his/her life. Nathalie, 42 years started her career as an art teacher in secondary schools in Mauritius.  At the beginning, she volunteered in her church through a group called AIGLON who worked with children and through this, she became exposed to social service.

 

She also realised that being in the education sector, her scope of helping these youngsters, was limited to teaching.  From this, came the need to have an association and VERO was founded.  The activities focused on various workshops and activities to understand and attend to the basic needs of children coming from regions of Beau Bassin, Cité Barkly, Richelieu; in terms of food and school supplies.  It also aimed at restoring confidence in the hearts of the children through creativity classes every Saturday.

 

However, at some point in time, she felt that she lacked experience and training and also wanted to revitalize her actions. It also came to her that giving food in its physical form was not enough, she felt that there was a lack of food for the soul.

 

So, she signed up at TIPA (Terrain for Interactive Pedagogy through Arts) for a training course, coincidentally at the same time, a job opportunity opened up at the institution.  While going through the mission, vision and objectives of the institution, she identified herself with same and decided to apply for the post.  She was now able to find her way and really transmit and share values through art.

 

But then, at another cycle of her life, she felt the need to engage herself even more and the idea of creating a school of painting for young children  sprouted, and she set up ‘Art and Design’.  For her, to be able to reach young children, she is now planning to reach and touch the hearts of women and mothers who are the true pillar of the family.  Making a significant difference in the lives of young children meant firstly making a difference in the lives of the parents, particularly mothers; Women…

 

For Nathalie, in our actual society, much stress is put on the external aspect of the person, the focus is on material and academic achievements and progress of the individual.  The true self is given a lesser importance, if not completely minimized.  Ultimately, many people grow up with a feeling of being rejected if they fail to comply with this image of the society.  Through art therapy, Nathalie aspires to create an awareness on the soul’s healing, the need to work on ourselves and within ourselves and restore confidence in each and every one.

 

For her, through her own experience, she is convinced that we can truly empower and give value to each person, through a word, a phrase of encouragement and this can eventually change the path and journey of someone

 

Nathalie goes further to explain that the true and remarkable strength of a woman lies in her capacity and ability to give life,  to carry a child within her, to nourish him/her, to create and give existence to someone, and something which was not here before.  Through this vivid example, Nathalie wants to tell women that they are able and capable of participating in the art of creation of our world.

 

Lastly, Nathalie shares the need to become aware, that everyone must strive to leave a legacy, for others to walk in our steps and follow the path we have started tracing.  Life is an ongoing and perpetual workshop and social service is not mere volunteering, it is hard work, it is a commitment that the change we are bringing has an impact on the lives of others…

To youngsters, her message is… If I made it…You can Make It…

Country : Mauritius