Friends of Sézane

Friends of Sézane


Morgane Duval

Education beyond the standard model

Âge: 26 years old
Profession: Entrepreneur
Mission: Accompany secondary school students for the association Double Horizon
Conviction: Do not look to others to guide you and you will not lose yourself anymore
You joined Double-Horizon a year ago. What is your role?
I am part of the "Trajectories" program. As a volunteer, I organize cultural outings, sports or work with the students of the 20th arrondissement, Porte de Montreuil. In our charity, there are dozens of different paths. The idea is to introduce students to different industries, awaken passions, and spend time with them in a playful way. Recently, I took 15 children to the theater, and to Cent Quatre to introduce them to hip-hop: they loved it. I also took the to an architecture firm so that the architects could explain their job to them. It is necessary to explore broadly because it is not only in the traditional world that one can find a future career.

What brought you to work with these children?
These children cannot afford to go on vacation or to cultural centers. When they leave school, they often stay at home watching TV or go into the streets. They are very much in need of other activities – especially between 3rd and 6th grade,  when one asserts oneself and develops the personality. I discover a lot of things alongside these children: I believe the best way to have a positive impact on the world is to be with the youth and show them beautiful things.
What attracted you to the nonprofit world?
I had a traditional education: I went to private school and attended HEC Paris in 2011. Then I went to live in New York City and work at a bank. I did not recognize myself at all in this universe, being deep in excel spreadsheets all day... it's an environment in which you cannot be creative. I felt like a robot in front of a computer.
So, I tried volunteering: I gave math lessons to children between 10 and 12 years old in Harlem and in Spanish every Saturday morning. After that, I volunteered in an art program, through a friend who was a photographer and set up a charity to introduce children to the world of art. It was a 2-month program for 6 children, once or twice a week, around themes... we went to museums, outdoor shows, and more.

Your charity involvement, has it enlightened you? 
It has been a progressive awareness. It started especially when I went to an exchange program during school in China and Hong Kong and then an internship in Beijing: I experienced a real cultural shock facing this very different way of life. I realized there were a thousand ways to live and to be.
I met two French people who had founded a start-up there. They left with a backpack, learned Chinese and settled down... they showed me that another life was possible. After New York, I returned to Paris and wanted to continue volunteering. 

How could the education system be improved?
Through the way of teaching. In France, we are made to study everything in a broad and extensive way: we are made to learn everything and do not hold anything back. We must follow our tastes, our preferences. The subjects I really remembered were those for which I had a real interest. Mindless education produces clones. Students must be given more time to discover. We need more agile people, who are more aware of environmental and social issues not covered in standard educations.

Is there a work that inspires you?
Recently, I saw "Human," a documentary by Yann Artus Bertrand, in three volumes. He interviewed people all over the world: when we lose sight of what makes us happy, this film puts things back into focus. We come to understand the fundamentals of humanity through it.  What we need is love, food, a roof... it puts the relationship between people in perspective.

Demain (tomorrow), what does it represent for you?
To create a future that we can shape, like artists. We are in charge: we can change the future!