When Pascal Plisson suggested to Barthélémy Fougea that they tell the story of the struggles some children have to gain access to an education, they decided to set up a big documentary project around this idea.
A meeting with Jean François Camilleri of Disney France convinced them they should make a feature film documentary.
Next came a worldwide search to find a selection of children who lived a long way from anywhere. With the help of UNESCO and of Aide et Action, and of the professional and personal networks of both the producer and the director, we were able to select 80 stories, each one more remarkable than the next.
From among those, four children were chosen for their symbolic journeys to school and their unwavering belief in education as the answer to their futures:
Jackson, Carlito, Samuel and Zahira became our ambassadors.
From the moment of going into production we put in place, as part of the filming, ways of helping the communities involved towards a better education. The film “Sur le Chemin de l’Ecole” (“The Road to School”) was released in cinemas in 2013. It was met with great success and received the César (The French equivalent of The Oscar) for the best documentary.
It then seemed obvious to us that we needed to share the film’s success with its participants, and to give them some kind of long-term support for the duration of their studies. This is when we set up the Association Sur le Chemin de l’Ecole with the aim of providing educational grants to these children and helping their communities to encourage learning.
From the very beginning of the creation of the Organization, Jackson and Salomé received school uniforms and school bags. We bought a wheelchair for Samuel, and set up a young girls’ hostel closer to school for Zahira. But we also created libraries in the schools and granted support courses.
In the three years following the film’s release, Winds made 26 other television documentaries that told the strange and remarkable stories of these heroic young children who climbed mountains and crossed swamps in order to reach school. It was a world tour of the different roads to school.
Faced with the requests from French schools to screen these films and organize debates around the extraordinary good fortune that we in France have with our ease of access to education, we added to the Association’s goals an awareness campaign.
Three main strands define the Association’s goals:
To provide educational grants to children who have physical difficulties in accessing education
To help these children’s communities to obtain a richer and broader education
To make French children aware of the difficulties these children from across the world face in order to learn.
For the last five years we have striven ceaselessly to give these children the chance of a better future, and we have collected donations for each child.
Thanks to the generosity of our kind members and partners, our Donors, our godfathers and godmothers, the Association is growing!
23 children are benefiting from an educational grant. We hope that by the end of 2019 this number will reach 30.
A second university grant has been set up (after Zahira’s in Morocco) for Jackson in Kenya
We help many educational communities (SOS Enfants in Haiti, Fondaf in the Cameroon, Enfants du Soleil in Madagascar…)
Awareness work in many French and overseas schools.
OUR FUTUR GOALS
On the Road to University :
A new challenge awaits us, as our programs are increasingly ambitious, and our first university students force us to expand. University studies are far more costly than the schooling that precedes it, and it commits us to several more years’ support.
New beneficiaries of grants:
We have given ourselves the goal of helping at least 5 new children every year.
New support programs for community development :
We have noticed that certain social conditions prevent children from going to school. Catch-up courses and help for school canteens are often the solutions that allow children and their families not to break the thread of schooling.
For the past five years we have striven ceaselessly to give such children the chance of a better future and we have collected donations for each child.
During the course of bringing the Association’s awareness campaign to French schools, children in them have expressed their wish to help
these other schoolchildren from distant lands.
Their imagination has led them to sell toys, cakes, organize running races and a host of other activities, all to provide funds for grants for the children we support.
This year, we will be setting up pedagogical tools that will allow children who want to, to play an active role in changing the future.
Our main aim today is to offer an on-going existence to these projects which we believe it is worth fighting for.