Social and Employment
Paris, 13th arrondissement., France
Géraldine Fort, Veolia
25, 000 € to the Selection Committee at 2005/05/31
Project leader Le Coeur des Haltes
« In 2004, the centre took in 260 women who had been victims of domestic violence or incest or were suffering from psychological or physical disorders. There is currently a rise in the number of young, single women with children. Let's do what we can to help them! »
At the age of 43, Mona Chasserio left her job with a pharmaceutical group. Her life was to take a radically different turn as she founded herself out on the streets in the company of the homeless who congregate around the Gare de Lyon in Paris. Shocked by this experience, she was inspired to set up a hostel for women in difficulty in 1992 with the assistance of Abbé Pierre. "Cœur de femmes".
For twelve years, the association has been providing women with medical care and training with a view to helping them back into mainstream society. 120 staff work alongside Mona Chasserio: education workers, support staff, doctors...in a number of premises: a hostel (rue du Château-des-Rentiers, in Paris), an emergency call-in centre at the gare de Lyon, a social centre and job club (in the 12th arrondissement), and a barge at Neuilly-sur-Seine serving as another reception centre.
These support, accommodation and training facilities, which have been developed over the years, give participants a leg up on their way to a better life.
Time and space to rebuild a life
The hostel can currently accommodate forty women. It provides residents with a chance to develop skills through various workshops: physical expression, singing, theatre, painting, writing, educational support, etc.
But the premises are run down and inappropriate to the needs of women seeking to regain their physical and psychological health. There are plans to redevelop the interior in order to create individual rooms to replace the current dormitory system, in addition to the essential finishing work required on the building. The 25,000 euros in funding granted by the Veolia Foundation will cover the cost of carpentry work and the purchase of furniture. The Ile-de-France region, the "Fondation Abbé Pierre" and the "conseil général" have also agreed to be partners in this worthwhile and important project.