We could not stop our activities. On the contrary, we had to multiply them. We had to go to more "social houses", and we also went to slums we were not used to going. Nevertheless, our actions started to focus on fundamental needs like food and hygiene products, specifically for early childhood.
Hello, my name is Laurent Ott, I'm the manager of the social center «Intermèdes Robinson» in the south of Paris, in the Essonne area. We work in five towns: Chilly Mazarin, Longjumeau, Massy, Epinay and Champlan.
Our structure is a social center. Its purpose is to help and find solutions to the needs of families, and specifically children, living in vulnerable contexts.
We work with the most vulnerable families and children, meaning those who have great difficulties in accessing housing, education and health structures.
We work, as an example, in "social housing", where homeless people go, but also in slums, squats and priority neighborhoods.
Our actions expand in all kind of areas aiming towards education, social and health.
We also work a lot around food, nutrition, health, for the kids as well as for the whole family.
Since the beginning of the Covid -19 lock-down, we have been very preoccupied; we needed to stay in contact with the families and children that we were following on a regular basis.
How are you facing the COVID-19 outbreak?
Our team has been mobilized to collect the products needed, sort them out to distribute them, besides communication and awareness activities with families and children.
We are working in the long-term. We know we will continue to stay in touch with the families and children beyond the Covid crisis.
What is the impact on the families you're helping?
Today, we are in a post lock-down period, but we notice that the needs of families are exactly the same. Our families and parents have often lost their rights to welfare.
A lot of them could not work, and furthermore, they did not benefit from social help or financial support because their job was not an official one. So we find ourselves with families in even more precarious situations, alarming poverty, much worse than usual. At the same time, children suffered a lot from the lock-down, they found themselves shut inside small spaces, and today we feel they have a huge need of support, to bring them on a path of orientation and education.
What do you need the most?
So our needs today are important. We still need food, essential products, and we are also looking for IT tools. Computers, tablets, school equipment to support the children in getting back to school.
With The Human Safety Net and Generali, we were able to benefit from significant donations in terms of hygienic and early childhood health products. We also received help to buy tablets and computers.
So we will pursue our efforts towards this purpose since we do feel that vulnerable families and communities' needs are getting worse than before, and we do wish to stay on their side.