Looking back, I choose to think of myself as being fortunate to have encountered some pretty substantial difficulties throughout my childhood -as we all do on some level - no knowing that professional help could have altered for the better many outcomes. While my life path led me to explore many different routes, both professionally and academically, one of them took me one fine day to holding a job in an office where I nearly died smashed by a monstrous filing cabinet in a very respected financial institution in downtown Geneva.
Thanks to this freak accident, also seen as a blessing in disguise, I had the opportunity to experience up-close and personal the EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) treatment to heal the post-traumatic symptoms I had developed. The impact was such that I started to strongly question traditional mental health care and decided to work again with children. A few years from there, work took me to Colombia where I spent 15 days with a team of specialists in a camp for maltreated and abused children. These professionals had come up with an EMDR based protocol to literally "heal" children who had suffered the most horrific sexual, physical and psychological abuse. I learnt and studied this method which had brought back these children to life after only 12 days, while they had started the program as mere broken shadow of themselves. Today I am still in touch with one of the young participants and I realized that some things needed to be modified, adapted, remodeled.
So I returned to Geneva with the objective to adapt and export this method, ensuring that children from different culture and background could benefit from it too. After a trip to Senegal and to Cameroon to assess the feasibility of building such a program in Dakar and Douala, with the involvement and support of local teams and partners, I returned to Geneva and thought about all these children and adolescents here, who are struggling in silence, alone, and I thought that they too, needed just as much attention as any children anywhere in the world. This is why we built 2 programs and I made this my mission to make these programs accessible to children who need help, especially to those who believe they don't even qualify to receive any particular type of attention.
Help can take many faces but every child and adolescents has the right to access a little help to allow them to carry on through their childhood and grow to become the caring, healthy and thriving individual they were always born to be."