A dream for Arthur | Un reve pour Arthur
French in Normandy is in a building that is on street level; it was a deliberate choice.
I have been working in Special Education for a number of years, so when French in Normandy relocated to a new school building in 2012, being on street level was a natural prerequisite to ensure accessibility to all.
There are very few schools that are wheelchair friendly. Even with lifts in certain schools, there is always the problem of how to evacuate wheelchair learners in case of an emergency. My husband Tom and I wanted our school to welcome all and to be accessible to everyone. French in Normandy has welcomed several students in wheelchairs, as well as many with visual impairment. We have braille on all signage throughout the school.
Our Miracle Fruit
In 2018, in order to continue our support and commitment to accessibility, we decided to support another local charity: Un rêve pour Arthur.
Arthur is a 6-year old boy who has a very rare genetic syndrome. This syndrome usually only affects girls, making his case a very rare one. Arthur cannot see, he is multi-disabled and has debilitating epileptic fits several times a day.
We met his mom, Julie Moulin, in May when French in Normandy took part in the Table Football Competition as part of the World Cup Table Football Championships in Rouen. The organisers gave Julie a donation, so she was there to meet local companies and participants and talk about her daily challenges with Arthur. Julie had to give up work to look after Arthur full time. Arthur is now in desperate need of a specialised vehicle which will cost 15,000 euros. Together with some generous IALC colleagues, so far we have raised 2500 euros for this cause. We hope to reach a minimum of 3000 euros before the end of the year.
After meeting Julie, we invited her and Arthur to the school to talk to the B-level students who have “associations and charities” as one of their weekly themes. Julie spoke about her work trying to raise the money to buy Arthur’s specialised vehicle as well as her support for local parents of disabled children. Our work with Julie has been a great addition to the school.
Our latest project together is to raise enough money to transform the play area in the gardens opposite the school into a fully inclusive play area with roundabouts and swings especially adapted for children with motor disabilities, as well as wheelchair users. There is currently no such play park in the city. This will play an important role in a parallel project to start a weekend drop-off centre for parents with disabled children at French in Normandy. This sort of focus and mobilisation plays such an important role in the world. We will get in touch with local politicians, charities, doctors and associations in the hope that they will support this generous cause by giving their time and helping us to find the necessary contacts to make it happen.
In the meantime, Julie has come up with a great idea of making a notebook for parents for all the information that they need, for example appointments, drugs, treatments, symptoms, unusual events, movements and any other important information. This diary/booklet will save time and serve as a link for parents and professionals. French in Normandy will help Julie with the necessary admin for this project.
Together Julie Moulin and French in Normandy hope to have a huge impact and to make a difference, however big or small, because one small achievement has huge ripple effects. If French in Normandy can serve as an example of community work and set an example to all our learners, which they will remember and act upon in their future lives, then we would consider that a huge achievement for our establishment.
To all my friends and IALC colleagues, please find it in your heart to donate 100 euros to ‘Un rêve pour Arthur’ via this link which is a funding page. There is no commission via this platform so any money you can contribute will all go to this important project.
Together, we can make a difference!
UPDATE: After helping raise the money required for Arthur’s new car, French in Normandy is proud to have contributed to another successful local project. We joined forces with Sébastien Lebourg for this super initiative to install a table football, handmade in Rouen, in the childrens’ ward of our main local hospital. And YES... we did it in time for Christmas!