👣 What it is like to volunteer with Techfugees … Charlotte’s views on her experience #TF4Women!

CHARLOTTE ABDELNOUR, Volunteer with Techfugees France #TF4Women, Paris


👉🏼 Could you please introduce yourself? 


My love story with Techfugees started about 2 years ago but I’ve only “taken the operational leap” last year. I have always been sensitive to the cause of refugees and the way they are welcomed around the world. The war in Syria for the last 10 years and the name I carry reminds me of it every day, but so far I did not know what to do with it. It is easy to say that it is far from us, and that with our two arms we won’t be able to do much. I’m telling you, it’s totally false!

I came across Techfugees a bit by chance, following the adventures of Mike Butcher, and therefore of Josephine Goube and loved it: using technology (the one we use every day), to help with the exil situation – knowing that forced displacements will one day affect us all.

I’ve been wanting to use my knowledge and daily work competences for years to support a good cause. I was driven by a need to give my time, get out of my desk where I used to sit every day. I started volunteering each week. My Thursday evenings were no longer the same, I was in a hurry to be that time of the week again and again, to discover each person’s progress and to leave with this hellish energy after each meeting with these women. I think we have all built something very strong in this two-way adventure.

What makes me even more proud is what we’ve built with OCTO (the company I work for).

I decided to start this adventure by myself, to give “my” time, and not the time my company pays me for (through patronage for instance). That’s my own opinion, the engagement might be the same regarding your situation, but for me the difference was important: it’s my personal time, i’m responsible for it and I choose to give it to Techfugees and those wonderful people.

Days passed, and some colleagues started to ask me questions about Techfugees, if they could help, how… At the end, I think we were more than 10 people (the whole HR team so my HRD, agile coaches, designers, etc.) involved in Techfugees, in different ways, and one of the Fellows received a job proposal from us.

Last detail: I’m very proud to say that OCTO and Techfugees will be officially partnering for 2020 !


👉🏼 What were you doing concretely?


I joined the Techfugees team as a volunteer for the #TF4Women Fellowship program 2019, and spent several fabulous months.

My mission was to help this mentoring program, held every Thursday evening by:

  • Finding new spaces (offices, coworking, etc.) to host mentoring or training sessions and make sure that D-Day we had everything needed
  • Following up on a few fellows: either by regularly discussing with them about their progress, their blockages, their joys and other areas of life, or by being their referent in an area of ​​expertise. In my case, I was training two fellows on agile project management (UX, Scrum, Design Thinking, etc.)
  • Doing what I could, with what I knew and knew to help them find a job in Tech, in France (networking, advice, preparation of interviews, CV, response to emails, etc.)


Visit with the #TF4Women fellows @Futur.e.s conference, Paris
👉🏼 What did it bring to you ?


I leave with a selfish feeling of being able to help. I leave with a lot of encounters, difficult moments but mostly other wonderful ones. I leave with the desire to start over for the new fellowship batch. And above all, with this shared pride of having helped a dozen women from everywhere in the world, to get a job in the tech field in France.

Another anecdote, I never thought I would be able to support, mentor someone on a job that is not completely mine, but it looks like it does!


👉🏼 A message to the ones who hesitate to become volunteers?


To all those who have the same need and want to get out of their daily life by giving 2-3 hours of their time here and there to help, do it. It makes you grow up, become proud, learn about yourself and about others, go out of your comfort zone, meet 1000 people and end up needing to start again.

It’s a great feeling to know that you can help, no matter who you are, what you do, where you come from. And it’s even more awesome to see that when you start helping, others want to do the same and you end up with a team behind you.


For more information about the program, read our #TF4Women Fellowship Programme 2019 Impact Report : Executive Summary.

You want to get involved in the next #TF4Women Fellowship Program 2020 ?
👉 Volunteer your skills with Techfugees in France

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