After the reception of an email concerning her association, I wanted to meet Amélie during the last sunny days of this autumn.We meet up at the garden of the museum of La Vie Romantique, a little corner of paradise hidden in the capital. While drinking tea, the young woman speaks about her background, her plans and her wishes. She is aware of the hard condition of healthcare for mothers in Africa so she decided to create an association to help Cameroonian women with topics like maternity and pregnancy. Another proof that innovation, mostly perceived as technological can also be human and social.
« I enjoyed my years at college », says Amélie. She started a licence in sciences of languages and finished her studies with a professional licence as a project master in communication. « I understood quite fastly that I wanted to study communication. I knew that after this licence, I wanted to study even more because I couldn't get enough of it. » She then did a Master in digital marketing but she felt like something was missing. « The classes weren't detailed enough and I wasn't enjoying them. I did my last year at Sup de Pub in order to do a MBA in brand strategies. It was a wonderful experience : Sup de Pub is a great network, there's still many teachers I'm in touch with and professionals from last year that were really cool. »
In parallel, Amelie explains to me that she has become a more activist person. “I wasn’t really interested in anything beside what I was doing. Today, I am learning a lot about more things, but the theme of maternity came to me first because I became a mother. Pregnancy became a subject I like and that nurture me every day.”
Despite her pregnancy, another factor has activated her interest for pregnancy healthcare in Africa. « Last year I went for the first time to my motherland in Cameroon with my son and my boyfriend. I was lacking knowledge about my origins, I wanted to know more about my roots. It's really important to know where you're from. I remember that a few years ago my dad told me « you don't have to search where you're from, you're from here. » Hearing this everyday made me sick and I wanted to know even more. At a certain point, it was more than enough so I bought my plane ticket and finally went there. This journey was more than important to me since I just had a son, we discovered the country together, for the very first time. My fiancé was born and raised there, so he knew the country. At first this trip changed me, but then it shattered me. It took me a lot of time to recover when I came back to France. »
The start of 2018 wasn't easy for Amélie. « I already wanted to do something meaningful before going there, but this experience changed me and when I came back from it, I wanted to create my own association. »
She created her association on march 2018 and decided to put all of her heart in it. Between a full time job and the association, Amélie took a week or so to chill a bit. In order to take a break for a week, she decided to go to Copenhagen alone. «I'm looking for a calm place right now. I love Paris and many other french cities, but the way of life I'm looking for is not here. If you just sit on a bench and eat cookies in Paris, they'll be people judging you. I need a calm, serene, open-minded place where people mind their own business and don't judge you. »
Parfait Pour Jaden (perfect for Jaden) is a non-profit organization that creates heathcare and pregnancy campains all around Cameroon. « In Cameroon, there is so much young mothers (between 16-20 years old), there are many women around 19 who are mothers of 3 and that live really well. The fertility rate is also really high in general, so that explains why the mothers are really young. In our campains, we also talk about the consequences that can occur after the death of a child due to a disease. The last thing we do is that we help mid-wives in their work among our partners in healtcare center. »
The young woman also works with Gynécologie sans frontière, an association following her all along her projects. «We would like to leave in june 2019. It will be the beginning of summer and the weather will be great. We would like to go to small and isolated villages, but we hope that the weather will not be too harsh. We will also be in the period in which the country will host Africa's Nations Cup, so that will be a plus. »
Maternity in Africa is a really complex topic and most of the time, it is being generalized to the continent itself. But despite what the general opinion is, the customs in term of pregnancy are all different among the countries of Africa because the level of healthcare isn't the same everywhere. « In the association, we have a mid-wife that helps us preventing and showing the write things to do with the pregnancy kit we give away there. We are facing some cases that are too far from what we can heal because healthcare isn't a priority in the country. In Cameroon, you can buy your medicine at your local store and the notion of social protection or even free charges doesn't exists. You have to understand these things the moment you arrive there, and you should be careful not to be too intrusive in the people's customs. »
The association that Amélie is speaking about is very young, it was created in march 2019. About its name, it doesn't have a particular meaning : « The name could have been Eden, I chose Jaden because it sounded nice. » On top of the associative parts, the association is also a media in which the young woman write articles echoing to her projects or speaking about inspiring people. « I am developping a podcast on the cultural customs linked with pregnancy, maternity or birth in every African country, it can be RDC, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Morocco...but also about religions... With every podcast, we want to stress the differences there are in the customs, rituals, traditions, religion and culture because people tend to easily mistake those concepts together. Podcast is a format I really love and I listen to them a lot. I love Mehdi Maïzi and his team on NoFun, Brice Bossavie in particular. I think that they stress many important points on a lot of topics. »
Amélie lately discovered that she likes rap music but also soccer that she enjoyed watching during the Euro cup. « Paul Pogba is one of my favorite players. He comes from a harsh background but he remains bold and he is focalized on his goals. We live in a very individualistic society and yet we are expected to work in teams and to build things with people, it is a meticulous thing to achieve but he manages to do it. He often used to play with older people but he carried on, no matter what people's opinion was. Look at him today, he is a world champion. He is also a really religious person, which isn't something well-perceived nowadays. Some people rather be atheists than choosing to believe, because faith is an engagment, and Paul Pogba isn't afraid of believing. He goes to Mecca, he prays and he puts his forehead on the ground during games, he is courageous and engaged to his beliefs. Eventually, he lost his father not long ago and I think that this event influenced him in his carrier. His mother must be proud to see that her three sons play football and are good at it. I would really like to write his biography someday, but everything should be done at the right moment. In fact, I am waiting for someone to be the producer of my project (laughs). But I would like to make a beautiful object, not just a book you throw in your bag. »
Amélie says to me that she loves beautiful books. She has a whole collection of magazines, books and CD s... « For this point, I am just like my father who was a journalist. During his last years of work, he was a photocomposer for Le Monde and he has work with the artist Plantu. When you work at Le Monde and you have kids, they receive magazines and kids books for free, such as Max et Lili, J'aime Lire, Julie... Even though I work on a computer, I love paper formats : I always carry a magazine or a notebook and a pen. »
A Real Girl isn't afraid to fight , nor to show who she is. A real girl is a girl that is not afraid to sit on a bench in Paris and to eat cookies without being juged, It's a girl that « struggles ».