sipar is celebrating its 40th anniversary

histoire sipar camps réfugiés

1979: " A refugee welcomed is a refugee saved": welcoming in France

Cambodia is finally liberated from the tragic Khmer Rouge terror regime and six years of Vietnamese occupation.

Thousands of distraught and starving Cambodians are fleeing to Thailand where they are herded into huge camps, many wishing to leave these years of horror for a future they hope will finally be possible elsewhere.

Chance places Magali Petitmengin at the heart of this desperate situation; it will participate in the reception in France of 110 young children, alone; abandoned and probably orphaned. Magali organizes their arrival in France and meets with French politicians to raise awareness of this cause.

1982 – 1991: Help in the camps for a better welcome in France

After travelling to the camps, Magali and Bernadette Chaventon decided, with several friends, to support and organize volunteer reception groups. SIPAR was born. Its objective: to welcome and empower refugees as soon as possible and enable them to quickly find autonomy in French society. The statutes of the association are deposited and the work is not lacking. In total, 165 reception groups spread throughout the France have welcomed and led to autonomy about 3500 refugees in 10 years.

At the same time, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs asked Sipar to open a French literacy and life preparation school in the camps for refugees selected by the France awaiting their departure.

In the other camps, Sipar set up numerous training courses to prepare the population for their return to the country. Several dozen young French volunteers are selected and sent to Thailand to provide these trainings.

1991: Planting the seeds of reconstruction in Cambodia

The Paris Agreement on Cambodia in 1991 put an end to the Vietnamese presence. Cambodia regains its independence. It is the end of the camps in Thailand and the return of the exiles to the country. Sipar decides to enter Cambodia. Everything related to knowledge has been destroyed, books burned, the education system has been destroyed. Out of 21,000 teachers, only 2,000 remain.

The Cambodian Minister of Education asks Sipar for his help in training teachers in schools. Sipar then took the turn of development aid. Helping a country to develop means training trainers, teachers and cadres who will themselves lead the country to autonomy.

The members of Sipar are determined to put their humble stone in the building of the reconstruction of the country, by imposing several rules: always respond to a need expressed by the population, make them participate, make them autonomous, work with them and work in the countryside as in the city.

Keep on sowing the book in Cambodia

These principles continue to motivate every project implemented by Sipar today. Today, we can proudly say that we participate in the functioning of the education system in Cambodia. Sipar has grown greatly.

In 2000, it also became a publishing house to meet an immense need: to distribute and read books in the Khmer language. Books, access to reading and literacy are our driving force. To date, more than 2.7 million copies have been printed. A team of 55 people 100% local works daily in Cambodia in publishing but also in the management and development of innovative programs for children, young people and adults. 14 mobile libraries circulate throughout the country to bring the book to remote areas. We have created libraries in prisons, in factories, in hospitals and of course in schools. Hundreds of young volunteers take over in the villages to carry out this mission.

Sipar continues to innovate every day and in particular with the latest program dedicated to supporting high school students in their post-baccalaureate orientation paths. Thank you to all of you who have made or are today making the history of Sipar. The adventure continues.

Thank you for everyone who made what Sipar is today. The adventure goes on !

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