Pro Bono workshop at Thales Bordeaux Campus: combining schooling and solidarity


June 30, 17 Thales Bordeaux Campus employees dedicated their expertise and ideas to a 2016 Thales Foundation winning solidarity project. Their challenge consisted in preparing a script for a video appeal promoting schooling in Mali during the half day Pro Bono workshop organized by the Foundation.



Employees show their engagement and solidarity


Hand in hand with the Thales Foundation, two employees intiated this Pro Bono workshop: Adama Diarra, coordinator of the non-profit organisation ASDS (Association Solidarité Développement Samako) which aims at supporting sustainable development in his native Malian village Samako. With the Foundation’s support in 2016, ASDS built a science education centre in Samako.
Carine Sztark, ambassador to the Fondation on the Bordeaux Campus, worked alongside him to identify an issue to be resolved and involve other colleagues in the process.


Catherine, Vincent, Nicolas, Hélène, Eric, Laurence, Guillaume, Anais, Philippe, Claude, Stéphane, Alain, Elsa, Marie-Noëlle, Alexiane.
15 Thales employees of varying profiles, heeded to their call, offering their expertise and ideas to help solve in half a day one of the association’s new challenges: convincing village parents to send their children to school.
Driven by their motivation to contribute directly to a solidarity project, these employees came together to share their knowledge and experience of Africa, their views on educational and cultural matters, their time and common sense in order to advance an important cause!


Sending children to school: not obvious everywhere


Thanks to the legitimacy won by the creation of the science education centre, ASDS wishes to make and broadcast an appeal video to convince Samako families to send their children to school, girls in particular. Indeed, the stakes are high: in Samako, village of 4,000 inhabitants, approximately 350 students attend school, only 20% of them girls. In other words, the enrolment rate is under 50%. However, workforce needs in the field and tradition still have priority over education.


Listening and understanding needs using collective intelligence


Participants became fascinated with the local and cultural context and did their best to understand the needs and constraints imposed by it: hierarchy, economic needs, school reality…
Alongside Adama, Aminata Koné, in charge of the association and also native of Samako, was present to share her experience and provide essential answers and points of reference.
A number of propositions and ideas streamed in, each one shaping into another, with the necessary critical spirit for this very specific project in line with a completely different culture.

Obtaining a detailed appeal in half a day was indeed very ambitious! A video script draft was nonetheless presented at the end, resulting in the work of 3 groups having worked on messages and sequences to illustrate the benefits of education for:
– Child development and fulfilment,
– Families, to make their lives easier and contribute to their evolution,
– Economic development and village influence.


A virtuous dynamic for the association and the participants


The results of this session will be summarised by the project team to enable the association to continue working on the video at the beginning of the school year and for it to be broadcasted by the end of the year.
The morning ended with lunch, a time for each participant to voice their sentiments and enthusiasm: « Fascinating, surprising, interesting… I’m waiting to see what happens next » (Hélène Labarrière Lagoueyte, purchasing department for engineering and testing), but also « emotionally rewarding, Adama and Aminata surprised us with their enthusiasm » (Nicolas de Cadoual, software components technician).
This moment of solidarity, ripe with emotions and meaning, produced a virtuous dynamic between the association and Thales employees.
« I was impressed and touched by the motivation and involvement expressed by the employees who participated in this solidarity marathon. School attendance in our village became an important cause for each and every one of them. This has given us a boost for the next steps of our project. » Adama and Aminata explain, while thanking the employees for their warm welcome and involvement.