“I go to meetings,” confesses Adrien Sallez, general director of Asmae, the main association perpetuating Sister Emmanuelle’s action for children. The straight look, the direct words of the almost fifty-year-old confirm the statement, and we easily believe him when he adds that he would have immediately followed Sister Emmanuelle to Cairo (Egypt) if he had had the chance to meet her. But when the young man from the western suburbs of Paris searched for his path, in 1998, after studying literature, the 90-year-old nun, with a fiery temperament, returned to live in France and devoted herself to writing – it was necessary money to support its projects serving poor children in the East and also, already, in Asia and Africa.
Adrien Sallez then follows in the wake of other inspiring women, three students who have just founded Unis-Cité, an association developing civic service for young people based on an American idea. For nine months, part of a team of seven volunteers, he provided academic support sessions in deprived areas and activities in nursing homes. Little by little, this father of two children came to occupy key positions: recruitment and training of volunteers as well as employees, communication, human resources management. In 2011, a former Unis-Cité member of Asmae’s office informed him of the opening of a position for director of resources and communications within this structure.
An unreserved commitment
Her first journey in the footsteps of Sister Emmanuelle takes place in Cairo, in the neighborhood where the nun lived with the ragpickers. After the fight for children’s schooling – won, at least among the ragpickers of Cairo –, Asmae began the fight against violence inflicted on children. Its action, always in support of local initiatives, extends to eight countries, including France. Country in which solidarity is weakening: “The number of donors is falling while larger contributors appear, a sign that social inequalities are widening,” analyzes Adrien Sallez. On a daily basis, however, Sister Emmanuelle’s energy continues to inspire her. “She’s in my computer, in my office, in my discussions,” smiles the man who made the famous appeal of “the little sister of the rag pickers” his own: “Get involved! »