Christine Pratte :
of animals and men

Apassionate believer in animal welfare, Christine Pratte, age 32, got recently involved in a whole new field: volunteering that is “focused on human beings.”

Arriving from Barcelona, where she had been living for the previous eight years and working for Orange for the last five, she settled in Nice in November 2011, taking the role of management controller. In Spain, Christine had put her heart and soul into an animal welfare NGO. It was an adventure that lasted five years. On her return to France she naturally began to look for a new commitment. Neither convinced nor inspired by the sorts of organisations she had previously worked with, she decided to sign up for the Orange Digital Solidarity programme (Orange Solidarité Numérique – OSN).

"It’s good to get fresh blood. You start out very motivated, wanting to make things happen!”

On Monday evenings she now runs ODS IT workshops for young people ages 19 to 25 doing their national civic service, under the aegis of the Unis-Cité association. “They are mostly looking to improve their word-processing and spreadsheet skills,” she explains.

For an hour and a half Christine reinvents herself as a teacher: “The positive side is they catch on very quickly. The downside is that they lose concentration just as
quickly! The lesson needs to maintain momentum, which means I need to prepare it in advance.” But she doesn’t mind the extra work: “I see it as a way of improving myself,” she jokes.

In Barcelona Christine was a member of a small local NGO that worked to treat and home stray cats. It taught her about both the benefits and drawbacks of volunteering, the personal satisfaction it provides and the feelings of frustration that can also follow, “because nothing is ever completely completed…”

With ODS she has discovered some new positive points: “What’s good is that there are plenty of colleagues involved. We know we can rely on each other.” The friendly atmosphere has helped her make connections with her co-workers: “We work in the same unit. Meeting each other in a different context helps us to bond.” Christine may harbour a flicker of nostalgia for her previous animal cause, but remains positive and sees the change in a favourable light: “It’s good for NGOs to get fresh blood. You start out very motivated, wanting to make things happen!” A good message for anyone hesitating.

Portrait by Magali Sennane.

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