“I saw a place where the children left with a woman. It was very close to where I lived. One time I went back and I came out stunned. It was just a normal place but for me it became a new universe.”
Kadidiatou is 11 years-old and lives at Noisy-le-Sec. In 2013, she discovered the activities offered by the association Entraide à Tous (Helping Everybody) in the youth space, at the foot of the Petit-Noisy social housing apartment complex.
“I met Dalinda when I organised a neighbours’ party with Cedric. Later she became our new projects manager. There are educational activities, not directly related to school, but the brain is always there for thinking. One outing that I really enjoyed, was the one that happened to be my birthday. I couldn’t sleep, I had my eyes open all night and in the morning I forgot to eat my breakfast. It was the book fair at Montreuil and I love to read.
One day in CM1 (4th grade primary school), my favourite teacher talked to me about my best subject: history. She explained to me that it annoyed her when I told the end of the story to the other students without letting her finish. But she also noticed that I had studied a language which was normally beyond my age and she found this interesting.
I explained to her that I had an uncle who had gone to school here in France. He was good at everything, if I don’t understand my homework I contact him. He taught me how to speak in a formal way, especially when he was on the telephone looking for work […] That gives you a better chance: as soon as they hear you have can speak formally they know that you are going to be able to speak to clients for example. They can see your potential.
So, I prefer to speak formally rather than the wesh wesh (slang). I speak wesh wesh with my girlfriends but with an adult I’m going to try to get by speaking formally. Often they are surprised that I speak formally, they want me to talk the wesh.. Myself, I prefer to say it’s up to you to choose the way you want to speak. […]
When I was in fifth grade at primary school Dalinda offered us a project to do with the year seven students from Cassin college. We had to write book reviews which would encourage people to read. The project was called ‘A book in my school bag.’ Sometimes, they would give me a book on the Wednesday and I would finish it by Thursday morning. So I borrowed lots of books.
I presented my book review orally. Why should you put a review on paper when you can do it in your head.? I want to explain something to you : writing is good but when I see people read, I don’t find it very lively. I don’t see any problem to do reports on paper but at work, there’s much more speaking than writing. Every day you will see somebody and every day you’re going to talk. So to be able to speak well is very important.”
Kadidiatou contributed to the blog for the association “Entraide à Tous” created by Dalinda. She wants to become a freelance journalist.
“It’s thanks to the meeting with Dalinda. Sometimes they say to me: if you want to be a journalist you have to do a lot of study. And I say: ‘but why would I bother if it’s like you say! Some people can be so discouraging right from the start, about all kinds of jobs […] Even if it’s true, I’m not going to lie, at one point in my school year I messed up a bit.”
When I tell her that it’s normal to have periods where you don’t feel like doing much, Kadidiatou answers :
“ I agree with you but I have to say: it’s better to train yourself quickly than to wait 70 years. If you start training now, then when it happens, you’ll be better prepared than if you wait 70 years and you’ve only got a week to go before you start.”
– That’s very good advice.
– I don’t know why it wouldn’t be.