Portrait of the month : Anne-Lise, volunteer in Popești (Dec. 2017)

Interview with Anne-Lise, volunteer in the community of Popesti

Anne-Lise is Swiss but she lives in Greece. Passionate about weaving, she has decided to donate her weaving looms to the community of Popesti. She followed her weaving looms all the ways here and she is currently teaching the companions how to use the machines. Here is our interview with this specialized educator full of ideas and empathy.

“I am passionate about weaving and autism. I have worked often with people with disabilities, especially autistic persons, mostly teenager and adults.”

“I discovered weaving during my training to become a specialized educator. At that time, we had creative workshops, two or three weeks per year. I did this for one week and after that, I continued learning by myself. I also went to a workshop with professionals a few years ago.”

How did Romania become her destination for this volunteering? For this we can thank the Emmaüs community of Sion in Switzerland!

“Travelling to Romania happened by coincidence. As a loyal customer of the Emmaüs shop in Sion, I got to meet the managers of the community and explained to them that I wished to donate several weaving looms. They talked with Gelu – one of the managers of the communities in Iasi and Popesti – to ask him if the community would be interested. Then I flew there to assemble the machines and to teach the people who live here how to use them. But, perhaps I could have gone elsewhere, if the weaving looms have been donated in another place. (laughs)”

In Popesti, Anne-Lise is discovering with a very open-mind, not just an association, but a way of life.

“It is my first experience living within a community. Here I had to understand how the community works, to create a place for myself despite the language barrier.”

But the language barrier has not prevented Anne-Lise to communicate with the companions, some of whom speak a little bit of French. As a matter of fact, her teaching has already paid off, a companion, Ionela, just finished to weave a gorgeous hessian. She gave us a demonstration and she worked with a lot of self-confidence! Regarding how they work together, Anne-Lise says:

“I have been able to teach her a few things right away. We have established a friendly relationship quite quickly. She loves threads, just like me: she makes macramé bracelets. She has a good sense of humor.”

About the community, Anne-Lise has been very observing. She has plenty of suggestions that could help to improve the community’s functioning and to acknowledge and value each companions’ skills.

“I think Popesti is the perfect place for people with disabilities. It is a secure place, where a lot of things are to be created. Individualized projects for each companions through which they could learn what it means to live in a community and how to behave with each other, so they can find a place into society.”

“Anyone can teach something to someone. No need to be a social person, nor a professional. Just to be passionate by the other.”

Thank you Anne-Lise for this interview and for your involvement in the community!

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