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Testimonial: Corinne Garros, sponsor to Bestearekin in Bayonne

December 2016

Corinne Garros, Executive Assistant (VINCI Autoroutes), has been the Bestearekin association's sponsor as part of the VINCI Foundation's activities. She has been following a family of Armenian migrants who arrived in the Basque Country more than one year ago. She talks about her involvement at their side. Discover the photo report !

What have you done with the Bestearekin association?

Buying a minibus, thanks to the Foundation, help has helped change the association's life, organise excursions, facilitate the logistics of weekly supply runs, and enable travel for French lessons and workshops to be organised in a rational way. Last summer, we were also able to organise 'committed' vacations in the inland Basque Country, making it possible for the families to go on holiday.
It was a real success and we will repeat the operation this year. It wouldn't have been possible without the minibus.
We put on inter-family meetings with the help of organisers. These volunteers suggest suitable games for the children to play. We were also able to offer trips to the cinema, and prepare an inclusive Christmas celebration with the families.
I also called on outside companies to collect donations (shopping centres, pharmacies, etc.).
My colleagues were very receptive of my requests and contributed furnishings, hygiene products, clothing, games and toys.

What impact has your support had on the family?

I gave the family considerable administrative help (enrolling the children in school, finding student school insurance, and contacts with City Hall to enrol the children in the school lunch programme, for example). I have helped the parents with their relationships with the schools.
I also called on an Armenian cultural association to help me understand them and was therefore able to listen to them and write their life story.
I ensured that they met other people from the same country who are not necessarily in the same situation as them to create real social ties.
I accompanied their children to birthday parties and thus the mothers were able to meet and have started to forge ties thanks to their children.
I accompanied Tigran, the father, to medical appointments.
I make myself available to them whenever they need me, even if it's only to have a coffee and talk.

What has this involvement given you in return?

I've been a volunteer with this association for several months now and follow this Armenian family. It is a unique and special experience that gives me an opportunity to meet wonderful people and discover a different culture. The volunteers' role is mainly to provide moral support, and this often turns into real friendships. I am always welcomed like a member of the family and these families generally love sharing their culture, food and way of life with us. It is truly a sharing relationship and I feel deeply useful.