Madam Nafaa, what is your status within the association Tendre la Main ?
I am the founder of the humanitarian association “Tendre la Main”. I was born on April 20th, 1960 to Palestro, Wilaya de Bouria in Algeria. I came to live in France at the age of 22 with my husband, I live in Paris region since the 80s. I left the benches of the school at the age of ten to be completely in the service of my mother who was suffering. If I am anxious to insist on the fact that I did not make studies, and say that trials of life and actions on the ground taught a lot me and gave in experiences, it is because I also fight prejudice, I shall wish to be a source of motivation for all the people whom we despise because these are not awarded a diploma and which so lose confidence in them by forgetting that they often have a big potential.
What led to you towards the humanitarian worker ?
My click was born in 1999, during the month of Ramadhân, when I listened to a call which was thrown by a humanitarian association on the waves of Young Frenchman of north-African origin Radio inviting the voluntary listeners to take care of a woman coming from Algeria, more précisemment of the city of Oran, accompanied with his two-year-old daughter for care at the hospital Robert Debré, in France. Affected by this call the solidarity, I directly called the association in question. I undertook to bring, every evening, the dinner, the meal of the breaking of the fast to this lady. I have no more news of this one, I shall strongly like finding her. Before this first action, I had no idea of what meant an association, I decided then to join the team of the volunteers of this association.
How did you create the association Tendre La Main ?
In May, 2002, in the exercise of my voluntary work, I went in Algeria with a gift of 100 pullovers which I brought to Mustafa Bacha’s hospital (service of the cancer patients) in Algiers. I was very touched by visiting the patients and when i came back in France, I wanted to create an association for working in my host country and in the future in my native country. For it, I contacted Denise, a very generous neighbor, who was 74-year-old. I informed her about my wish to create an association then I suggested her to being my treasurer, what she accepted without hesitation. The association Tendre la Main was born in 2002. Because of health problems, unfortunately, Denise leaved the association Tendre la Main in 2007, she continues to support the assocation according to its capacities.
Why did you choose to call the association ” Tendre la main “?
When I arrived in France in 1982, I had no family, and when I was hospitalized, I wanted that a person comes to visit me but it was never the case. I realized that many were in the same situation as me for quite a long time . This big felt lack, this intense need for the human presence in the most difficult moments which was not filled engendered in me a strong condolence. Then I wanted to put this into action, rather than being angry against all humanity and lock myself, I found the way of the relief by making the opposite of the indifferent individuals, By giving to the others what I did not receive and by holding out my hand to the needy persons.
What were the first humanitarian aids ?
In January, 2003, we were ten volunteers within the association, we bought shirts for old men and dresses for old women, tracksuits for the boys and the girls who stayed in the reception center of Lakhdaria. 37 deprived people were able to benefit donations. There I was informed about the Amel case then I met her and I adopted her in 2009 (to consult the link following to know more about it : http: // www.tendrelamain.com /amel/).
How did you penetrate into the medical domain ?
To reach in the medical domain, it was necessary to receive a convention with the APHP (Hospitals welfare services of Paris). Our association received positive answers of the following hospitals: Saint-Louis, Lariboisière, Raymond Poincaré, the Red Rosebush, Fosh, Necker. Our association was in touch with doctors and social workers. There were many patients who came from Algeria, especially at Fosh, every week, we received 4 to 5 patients. The role of the association was to bring a moral support with these patients and with their family. The Red Rosebush is an establishment which offers a place of accommodation for the in-patients, There was Saliha and Fatima which cooked every day to the patients, especially during the month of Ramadhan, while they were reached of the cancer themselves. Two butchers of Nanterre supplied us every three days with the meat, traders gave us vegetables and cake store. From 2002 till 2012, the association Tendre La Main care of all the patients of the reception center the Red Rosebush.
What brought to you to create an association in Algeria ?
From 2002 till 2012, at the end of these ten last years with the Algerian patients coming to look after itself in the Hospitals of Paris, I was able to notice a real suffering to the latter caused by the distance with their close friends in Algeria. To facilitate the communication between the Algerian patients and the medical staff, most of the patients were looked after by Algerian doctors who studied in Algeria and were trained in France. The association also served as intermediary between the doctors and the family. Regrettably, more than 5 % of the patients went out, Tendre La Main took care to announce the news to families and took care of the repatriation. This is when the obvious fact to create an association in Algeria appeared to us. Tendre La Main received its approval in Algeria in 2013.
Did you receive rewards for all that you undertook ?
First of all, the fact that I can help is a reward one for me, and to see the patient calling in my favor and their smile. During the promotion of December 20th, 2014 of the Palms of the Voluntary work and the delivery of the diploma of Fondation de France put back by Patrick Ollier, the mayor of Rueil Malmaison, the jury attributed me the bronze palms of the voluntary work. But for me the real reward is the one which waits for me with God.
I shall wish that the association continues to exist as long as possible and to help diverse populations.Interview by Salsabil Maryam