Si-T-Libre, for a radiant city
Languedoc-Roussillon-Midi-Pyrénées - Toulouse
Social ties in priority neighbourhoods
Si-T-Libre involves the inhabitants of Bourbaki in the life of their 400-unit low-income housing estate north of Toulouse, strengthens inter-generational ties and works to open new horizons. There is also a new addition to the initiative—a senior centre.
‘We fight the fatality of precariousness, and are determined to inspire the people who live here to find their own solutions,’ says Joëlle Rémy, president of Si-T-Libre, the only association located within the heart of this 6-hectare housing estate with a population of 1,268 in Toulouse. ‘We support groups and individuals, and offer parenting assistance to 367 families. Our actions reach up to 1,800 people, 70% of whom youths between the ages of 6 and 18. Our local work aims to stay close to the inhabitants,’ says Isilda Alves, mediator. A staff of 13 plus 63 volunteers run the various activities: the administrative relay service, extracurricular workshops, theatre, writing, prevention, etc., and neighbourhood fairs, a festive centre—carnival, music festival, street sports, shared meals—supervised by Raphaël Lévy. Joyful moments that are also opportunities to help solve problems.
The Bourbaki Vie association, re-named Si-T-Libre in 2005, was created 26 years ago by the desire of inhabitants of the Minimes housing estate to provide structure for adolescents. In 2013, along with the launch of urban renewal work, the association launched a programme for seniors. Indeed, the construction could threaten their ability to keep their bearings in the neighbourhood where they had grown up. In response, Valérie Alric, secretary of the association, dreamed up and elaborated a programme: creating vegetable gardens, floral balcony contests, trips to the seaside or regional markets in minivans, breakfasts, etc. Happy moments that light up the lives of thirty or so seniors. She received human and financial support from the Fondation VINCI pour la Cité in the amount of €10,500. Philippe Mut, foreman with VINCI Autoroutes, is one of the three Foundation sponsors who provide logistics support for events and offer their advice to optimise association management and improve its communication. ‘Completing the inter-generational dimension with an approach devoted to seniors show the intelligent responsiveness characteristic of the association. We support these efforts by providing complementary skills,’ says the sponsor who, for his part, facilitates contacts with businesses to introduce members to new professions.
New horizons ‘I joined the association twenty years ago. The activities for seniors have changed my life thanks to the breakfast get-togethers and trips,’ says 58-year-old Ouarda Kalouchi who has lived in Bourbaki for thirty-six years. Lucette Pigozzo, who attended primary school there in the 1950s, witnessed the construction of the housing estate ten years later. She doesn’t live in the estate but is quick to visit for the activities of the association that she discovered in 2002. ‘At 66, it gives me good reasons to get out and about. Recently, I helped chose plants at the nursery for the flowered balcony contest.’ A plethora of colours, scents and joy that has left a lasting sparkle in her eyes.
April 2014 © Reporters d'Espoirs news agency
VINCI Foundation works with Reporters d'Espoirs, a French news agency, to highlight and share the innovative social initiatives that it supports. The arrangement includes the writing of articles and exchange on topics that lead to solutions. Thus presented, the initiatives, validated using the criteria of the editorial charter of Reporters d'Espoirs, are intended to demonstrate their development and results.