“What we give is ours forever”

I was fortunate to be born into a privileged family. Education and culture came naturally there. I often think of a phrase that Professor Brigitte Estournet coined about: “indispensable superfluities”. Access to knowledge is essential – and, in a way, wealth. It is a lever. It is a door into society, into treasures we sometimes didn’t even know we had, and an opportunity to step up. It is a universal right, for someone who has a home and for someone who hasn’t, alike. But it is beyond reach for many people, because they can’t afford it or don’t know about it. And psychological, social and geographic barriers sometimes block the road too.

Redistributing some of what we have been given should be something normal in life. All the more so if life has been so generous with us. I was lucky. Now, I have a new lever. The spotlight is something we can shift on to people who really need it. I am thinking of those people who are out there, day after day, giving their time and energy to twist fate. They go out, even when the weather is cold, to reach out to the most helpless and vulnerable, bringing support that might feel trifling, but which can – just maybe – twist fate back in the right direction. These volunteers often lack the means they need themselves. But I get the feeling that the spirit of solidarity has never been so alive in our society.

Helping is not just feeding someone one day: it is teaching them a skill, a trade, which will feed them for the rest of their lives. The people out there, working in associations, are fully aware of that. They are building bonds and human touches. Because nothing is more dangerous for a human being than a bond that breaks.

We can all be thrown off balance. And it’s usually just bad luck. Help, which can come in so many ways, can change that luck. That was why I started this Foundation. It is active on several fronts, but all the initiatives converge on one goal: healing hurt self-confidence and overcoming isolation. It supports initiatives that are already underway and thinks up new programmes that will stand the test of time.

So I would like to thank our partners, people on the ground and sponsors, who help us to do all this every day. What we give is ours forever. I am glad I learned that one day.