A Seychellois who moved to Paris finds great comfort in volunteering
Moving to a new country can result in a lot of anxiety given the new surroundings. One coping mechanism that a Seychellois discovered is volunteering, which proved to be a great way to settle into a new community, meet people, and learn valuable skills. Preshella Rosalie, who migrated to France in 2004, says she is making an impact on her community.
Rosalie is originally from Anse La Blague, Praslin – the second-most populated island of the Seychelles – an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean. Married for 17 years now with a child, volunteerism and helping others has always been her calling and Rosalie does it on a daily basis.
SNA caught up with Rosalie – who is back home in the island nation on a vacation – to learn more on her devotion as a volunteer and how she is able to cope with it.
SNA: What do you do as a volunteer?
PR: I go about collecting used but in good state clothes for children to distribute to mothers in need as clothing for children are more expensive at times than adult clothing. I choose specific locations to go about in giving those clothes like in front of refugee camps where most vulnerable people come from. I go my way to help families with issues such as children without a roof, people without work and who are away from their homeland.
I also give away food that I buy and cook once a week. I am based at Gare St Lazare in Paris where I distribute these. I do not have a schedule for that as I do it according to my work schedule, as I am employed with one of the most famous theatres in Paris – Follie Bergere – as well as according to my family needs as I am a wife and mother of a 19 years old boy.
Rosalie is based at the Gare Saint-Lazare railway station in Paris 8th arrondissement, France. (Moonik, Wikimedia Commons) Photo License: CC BY-SA 3.0
SNA: What has been the most touching or difficult moment you experienced while helping others and how did you handle the situation?
PR: I have seen so many sad, touchy moments while going about doing volunteer work. I remember meeting an elderly crying out because she has not felt and had affection for ages. She was feeling lost and unwanted — left in the cold in the street of Paris as a refugee. However, as a mum, the touchiest is when kids are involved. It’s always heart-wrenching.
I remain humble and try to understand what these people are going through. I do not judge. I try to put them on a level that they don’t feel bad about their situation.
SNA: How do you unwind after encountering these painful situations?
PR: Being an author myself after a long tiring week I burst out and express myself by putting the things I see and encounter on papers. I do write poems not published yet about those lost, lonely, desperate souls. Their ability to keep smiling is always an inspiration.
SNA: What have you done that has given you the greatest personal satisfaction as a volunteer? Describe the moment.
PR: The word satisfaction might not be compatible as I know I am helping only a very tiny minority of those in need. At the end of the day, I feel exhausted and maybe sadder for not being able to help more and meet the needs of others. The reality is that you cannot afford to help everybody. Eventually, the idea of coming back to continuously help out is what keeps me going. This is where I draw in motivation.
Rosalie feels sadder for not being able to help more and meet the needs of others. (Photo License: CC-BY
SNA: How does the volunteer job fit in with your present life situation and is it a hard commitment? What has kept you to the job?
PR: I work and I have my son, husband and a home to take care of. Giving a little of your time will not kill. Being human does not stop at just living life, but cohabiting and living life as harmoniously as possible.
In terms of commitment, it is very hard as I have to make space for everyone in my life. I have to catch up with keeping up with the bustling life in Paris where I also live. Nevertheless, I always do my share and combine all things that I do with moderation. In another life, I might have been busily preoccupied with other usual things in life, but the cry of others outside is always my calling.
SNA: Do you receive a lot of support from other organization or individuals for the work you are doing?
PR: The battle as a volunteer is daily, but I try to keep a balance. I do other things also for the wellness of my family. I get support from my husband, my son and colleagues from work at times though they can’t fully understand my incessant drive to help others. I also find comfort and support in what I do. I always think that if these people can get through the day, I can also deal with life’s most difficult situation and we all can.
Source: Seychelles News Agency