Story telling

Project holders, managers, employees and volunteers of associations have one thing in common: the desire to help and support beneficiaries in difficulty.
Discover the commitment of those who bring these projects to life through these testimonies!
3 questions to...

Claire Tournefier-Droual

Founder of Rejoué

After a career change, Claire Tourne­fier-Droual founded an integration workshop, helping long-term unemployed people to re-enter a profession via a project to restore second-hand toys.

Since its creation in 2012, this integration project has supported more than 115 people in difficulty towards employment and recycles nearly 26 tons of used toys per year.

If this project, which is very socially rooted, is a real success, it is because it responds to a major problem: the management of used toys, which after one or two years of life are often stored in cellars and never come out. Claire Tournefier, social entrepreneur, has taken up this challenge by offering them a second life and bringing a social dimension to it.

What inspired you to create Rejoué?
I was the communication officer for a company that organizes trade shows. I have always been interested in recycling issues, and when I had my son, the excessive consumption of toys really shocked me. At the same time, I realized how women with children are penalized in their careers. That’s why I founded Rejoué, which supports mostly women facing difficult circumstances and who are single parents.

Why did you choose toys as a vehicle for employability?
Games have high educational value, including for adults. There’s a whole realm of possibilities in this joyful and inventive world. Women with dependent children spend their days surrounded by toys and games; it seemed like an obvious segue to improving employability.

How would you describe it today, and what are your plans for the future?
It’s great to see that there are so many volunteers who want to help. This project is a huge success! Present in the Paris region, we want to expand our model and share our knowledge with others. We are helping to develop a more environmentally-responsible supply chain, involving toy manufacturers and distributors.

Swati Sharma

Manager Talent & Culture at AccorHotels India

For many years, Swati Sharma, Talent & Culture Manager at AccorHotels India, has supported and worked with the NGO Hope Foundation in favour of the professional insertion of disadvantaged young people from India.With the teams of the Group's various hotels in New Delhi, she has actively helped to set up the "AccorHotels Centre of Hope" training centre.

What is the link between the Hope Foundation and AccorHotels teams?
In 2012, AccorHotels India, with the sponsorship and support of Solidarity AccorHotels, partnered the Hope Foundation to create "AccorHotels Centre of Hope". The partnership works based on a simple philosophy: "People You Skill, lives you change", wherein AccorHotels not only fund the projects but also provide operational support to the Centre.
The center focuses on young people with disadvantaged backgrounds. Youths in India are facing serious unemployment and underemployment, and there are many causes, including dropping out of school, having to meet family needs early and the lack of career guidance. Result: without training, these young people don’t have the basic skills required by today’s employers. Although their standards of living force them to work and do not permit them to focus on education, AccorHotels Center of Hope offers them the opportunity to learn specific skillset and join the job market in six months.

How does the project work between the different stakeholders?
The organizations running this project play complementary roles. On the ground, Hope Foundation operates the center on a daily basis. AccorHotels India provides expertise from the outset by designing the relevant course content and devising training plans that prepare young people for the requirements of the job market in just one semester. We also help to select the candidates for training, advise students on career choices and support teachers, among other activities. For example, our employees, who are deeply involved, organize sessions on communication, self-confidence and other essential areas. They also provide internships in our hotels for practical training. Solidarity AccorHotels provides the crucial support that enables us to cover the center’s operational costs.

Why do you think it is important to provide support for these young people in India?
India's youth faces serious problems of unemployment and underemployment. The causes are many, and include dropping out of high school because of poverty; the need to support their family at an early age; the lack of career counselling at the right age; and, most importantly, the absence of the basic skills required by employers today. It therefore both humbles us and fills us with pride to be able to provide a great platform where these talented students can shape their future to provide lifelong support for their families.

Nailda Souza

Former Unibes beneficiary

In 2008, the head office of AccorHotels in São Paulo and the NGO Unibes joined forces to implement a program for disadvantaged young people to train in theory and practice of hospitality and catering. Nailda Souza, former beneficiary and student, tell us about her experience.

Why did you join the Unibes program? What did you get out of it?
I always had a taste for hos¬pitality. When I was young, I loved hosting people at home and making sure everyone felt welcome. It was natural to me. I joined the Unibes program in August 2015. I had no idea what hospitality was really about. Over six months, I learned a lot. It was the best year of my life.

During your internship, what relationship did you have with AccorHotels employees?
Right from the start, everybody was incredibly supportive. I felt welcomed. I remember being impressed by the quality of reception the first time I visited the Novotel São Paulo Jaraguá Conventions and the AccorHotels head office. Then I had the opportunity to be trained, with a lot of kind¬ness and professionalism.

How do you see the future?
I’ve been working in the hospi¬tality sector for more than two years, and I’m studying at the same time. It’s really exciting. I took on more responsibility, and now I feel better prepared for the future. AccorHotels and Unibes gave me an incredible opportunity. And as the saying goes: “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”