Togo

Jean-Pierre Demollière & Quentin

COLAS MIDI-MEDITERRANEE

Jean-Pierre :
“I am sales manager for COLAS’ quarrying activities in the South-West. I love challenges and I wanted to devote some of my time to helping others. During my many trips abroad, I often witnessed poverty and misery, but there’s not much you can do when you are alone. I was quite taken by the article published in ROUTE magazine in March on charitable work for COLAS LIFE and the “On the Road to School” programme that involved a Group employee and their child in a humanitarian project. I saw it as the way forward and applied to join the programme with my son Quentin.

This COLAS Foundation programme enabled me and my son to help people on a local level, by talking about what life is like for the children in the selected country and then talking to people working in the Colas Group to show them that nothing is down to fate alone, but that with a little solidarity, their situations can be improved. Another major point for me was that it enabled me to work on a project with Quentin and for him to see the kind of problems other people face first hand, and not just via the television – to show him that solutions can be found to help provide children with access to education and thus improve their living conditions in these poor countries.”

Quentin :
“I was well aware that there are very few such opportunities for a child of my age and I hope that I’ll be able to do some wonderful and unusual things in Togo. It will be an extraordinary experience that is enriching on a personal, cultural and human level. I hope that this programme will allow me to help build a humanitarian project that will improve the local children’s way of life and future prospects.”

Learn all about the project

Vietnam

Annie Foulquier & Laura

SACER ATLANTIQUE

I work for Colas and as part of the sponsorship programme it offers and carries out in partnership with the Rouge communication agency and the Good Planet Foundation, I volunteered to take part with my daughter Laura. Laura was very enthusiastic and sure that we’d be chosen – I must admit that I had my doubts. Our first reaction when we heard that we’d been chosen for the project was surprise, which was followed by delight and terrific excitement!

We’re used to travelling on holiday as a family with my husband. This project was an opportunity for just the two of us to take a trip alone. The project helped to bring us closer, with mutual support, the discovery of personal characteristics and things that we had in common, as well as the opportunity to socialise with the support team. This will remain an unforgettable experience because it gave our relationship a new emotional bond and a source of fabulous memories.

Learn all about the project

Croatia

Todd Strynadka & Rachel

TERUS CONSTRUCTION

Philippe Claverie has asked me to give a brief explanation as to why Rachel and I have applied to participate in The Road to School program. I hate to say that my first reaction was to think that I am too busy and have way too much happening to be able to leave my job, family and community duties for a week during the year. It would have been easy to say no. In reflection I believe that the program interested me for the lessons to be learned not only for Rachel and I but also to be shared with the people we live with, work with, go to school with play and coach sports with and try and raise our families with. It seemed it could be a lesson for our community.

A brief history. I am married to Leah and together we have raised 4 daughters. Rachel is the youngest of the children. Rachel was born in northern Alberta in 1995. In 2004 we were transferred within Colas to the large city of Vancouver, British Columbia. Life in the big city has been different than the smaller communities of northern Canada. The biggest difference is maybe the effect of seeing people who seem to have everything they think they need. Typical of North America as a whole I have seen all of my daughters grow up with ever increasing pressure on material things. For Rachel it seems she has increased peer pressure to have the right clothes, hair, brand names, listen to the right music, do well at school and get into the right university to get a high paying job etc. Not just blaming the kids I would say I have seen and been a parent who puts emphasis on everything being at a high level, play to win, be the best at everything you do. In work I am focused on contracts, deadlines, specifications and managing projects to be done to the highest standard. It’s a busy life without much time to consider others.

For me the opportunity to participate in The Road to School program is the chance to have a glimpse into socially responsible projects from different parts of the world. To see groups of people working together to help people in need. I recently saw a bumper sticker that said “Peace starts with me”. Well it may be interesting that Rachel and I learn that socially responsible behavior starts with “me” too.

So Rachel and I are making final arrangements to arrive in Vukovar and Gvoda in Croatia with a bit of nervousness for the unexpected. Being Canadian and especially being in Vancouver we live in a melting pot of cultures and ethnic backgrounds and may be unsure of how such strong social unrest develops in these regions. Rachel and I hope to learn about the work being done in these areas and will certainly share our experiences with our community.

Learn all about the project

Morocco

Yves Bouneou & Lea

AXIMUM SUD-EST

Yves :

I’ve been working for the Colas group for over 23 years. I’m currently Head of Operations at Aximum Sud-Est, a subsidiary specializing in road safety equipment.

During my career, I’ve had the opportunity to work as an expatriate in Morocco. The three years I spent there with my family taught me that not everyone has the same opportunities, depending on where they’re born. I discovered that Morocco is a country with a different culture. It’s a country of contrasts, where modern life rubs shoulders with the archaic and an abundance of wealth is found alongside extreme poverty.

My family was really touched by the stories of people we met in both villages and cities, all of whom said their ambition was for their children to be able to go to school so that they could have a better life than their parents. They were willing to sacrifice everything for that to happen.

Visiting Morocco and seeing the lack of resources available to families to educate their children gave me the idea of taking part in a community project. Of course, there are a number of associations in Morocco, but I didn’t have time to get involved in any of them directly. During our time there, my wife joined an association that helps women embroiderers in the Fès area to sell their work and improve their living environment, for example by buying a gas stove or a fridge and having access to medical care. Her enthusiasm for helping these people and the wellbeing it brought her – and she brought them – made me want to get involved in some kind of humanitarian work.

But I wasn’t sure how to go about it and what I should I do…

When I came back to France, I discovered the On the Road to School website. I read the story of Jean-Pierre Demollière (a former co-worker) and it encouraged me to apply with my daughter, Léa. As luck would have it, we’re going to be involved in the Morocco community project, making this experience all the more special for us.

I have a feeling that, through this project, we’re going to share some powerful experiences that will help us feel better in our day-to-day lives. And we don’t want to stop there! We’re keen for this project to succeed so that it can be duplicated in other villages in Morocco. We’ve already decided that we’re going to continue to take part in this kind of work, by raising awareness among those around us.

Léa and I are now waiting to get the schedule for this first trip. We’re both excited and a bit nervous at the same time. We’re keen to meet everyone involved in the project, as well as the children, to show them how determined we are. We don’t want to just be sponsors or passive witnesses. We want to be agents of change: we want this program to give families hope and give their children the opportunity to be able to read, write and learn so that they can have a better life.

Léa :

I’d like to work in social services, so I’m really lucky to have the opportunity to take part in this humanitarian trip to give lots of children the chance to go to school. I hope my contribution will help this project keep its promises so these children can study under favorable conditions.

Learn all about the project

France

Said Atif & Majda

COLAS MAROC

Casablanca, le 15/05/2012

When I offered to volunteer in the educational program called ‘On the Road to School’, I was far from imagining that I would be heading to France.

Up to now, the program’s missions all took place in countries that are encountering major economic difficulties. A good example is the rehabilitation of a school in Tiriguioute, Morocco, redesigned to promote a better access to education.

For the mission in France, the goal is to help an association called “Schools in Hospitals”, which provides schooling and psychological support for sick children in hospitals in and around Paris.

We cannot help but be profoundly moved when we see these young children who are unable to go to school like others their age.

Even though we can’t alleviate their pain, my daughter Madja and I are participating in the program to provide comfort, which will help them keep a grasp on daily life, and give them hope for the future.

Learn all about the project

USA

Samantha & Gabrielle

Colas Ltd.

It all started when I heard that the Group was looking for a patron for the On the Road to School program… I was so excited!

My whole life has been dedicated to working and being a mother so participating in “On the Road to School” was an opportunity to do something different, both for me and for my daughter Gaby.

I spoke to Gaby about it, telling her it would be a fantastic opportunity for us to be involved together in the program. This is what made me decide to apply. We were going to form our own tiny team!

I was a bit surprised when I learned the assignment was in Detroit because I had the impression that everyone in the United States lived privileged lives.

I must say I was not expecting to see what I saw in Detroit.

It was very nice to meet John Krispin from Barrett Industries manager and to see Barrett employees working hand to hand with the volunteers from the Detroit Partnership to help people from the community.

Everyone Gab and I met were so enthusiastic about the work they do. They all gave so much hope to people in need.

The entire experience was really amazing and I have no doubt that the work done by the volunteers from the Detroit Partnership will help the city of Detroit become a better place in the future.

Learn all about the project

France

Joan Reynier

Chef d’établissement de la carrière Roussillon Agrégats Colas Midi-Méditerranée

The "On the Road to School" program was initiated a few years ago and I found the idea very interesting. I signed up for the adventure without really knowing what to expect.
At the beginning, I did not know what a Reinforced Education Center was and what it meant, but I discovered passionate people who put a lot of heart and soul into their work to help troubled young people. It’s a big structure. I was surprised by the number of supervisors. It is a very good thing to have a teacher working alongside the educators and psychologists. She is totally committed to what she does. I find it noble of her to be so involved in her work with these young people.
I had the chance to observe and talk with the young people who work at Paulilles workshop. They were calm, committed, attentive and thoughtful. It was great to see the work they accomplished and the humility they showed.
In our society, we take for granted that we all have access to education. In reality, everyone is not so lucky. With this partnership, I discovered why the role of education is such an important part of acquiring the knowledge that makes it possible to move on from adolescence into adulthood.

Learn all about the project