Caroline Vuillemin #PiMaker - Reaching the stars with passion and love
Caroline Vuillemin is a #PiMaker: her story is the story of many other remarkable #PiMakers, who with love in what they do, reach the stardom of their sky, positively impacting their community. Caroline leads Fondation Hirondelle, a non-profit organization that takes radio to regions in crisis and empowers locals to communicate facts about their situation.
We met Caroline in person in the Ivory Coast, because she's not only leading the organization: She's taking actively part in the visiting of local regions to assure the organization is complying with its mission. We've recognized her #PiMaker profile and she promptly agreed to be interviewed. Here her answers.
How did you come to do what you do? What’s your personal background story?
My story is that of a young girl who has had the chance to discover Mali at the age of 14, in 1989, and who has wanted to open up to the world ever since to learn about stories, cultures and in order to meet men and women who share the feeling of mutual humanity.
"I wanted to learn about stories, cultures and meet man and women who share the feeling of mutual humanity."
Hence, I chose to study Political Science with a specialization in International Relations at the French university for politic studies Sciences Po, Lyon. Afterwards, I went to the United States to study and work in Washington, DC.
I believe that, apart from my studies, it has been both my parents who have encouraged my enthusiasm by trusting me and telling me that everything was possible, and my involvement in sports clubs and solidarity associations throughout my adolescence.
In 2003, I have joined Fondation Hirondelle. Ever since, every day has been an honor and a chance to contribute to a sense-making mission of information flow and access to knowledge, which is useful to men and women in the most vulnerable areas of our planet.
How do you feel you are positively impacting your society and environment?
Working in the field of communication and media has per se an influence on communities:
Thousands of people listening to a program, sharing a photo or reading an article, are no less than thousands of "brains and hearts" reached.
"I think that I can influence my environment by my personal way of being and by my work"
I think that I can influence my environment by my personal way of being and by my work. Whether it is towards nature and its resources, international solidarity, fraternity in my community or my family, I believe that my behavior has a positive influence on those whom I love, whom I respect and on those to whom I wish an open world, tolerant and shared by all. My work in media development with a strong social impact at Fondation Hirondelle allows me day by day to take actions to defend the right to know and to allow both to thousands of people to express themselves through independent media and encourage all parts of a society to have dialogs/ to exchange with each other.
What's your dream, your vision?
"Giving confidence to young women and helping them to make their path towards self-actualization."
My dream is to fully dedicate myself to giving confidence to young women and helping them to make their path towards self-actualization, whether here or elsewhere.
I had the chance to study, to choose where and when I want to work and to have a wanted child. One may claim that I made my own luck, but I am aware of the privileged status that I am in. I do not have enough time to realize this dream, but I am lucky my professional life allows me to contribute partially to this vision: helping women in all societies to have equal rights as men, but above all equal opportunities and confidence.
There are numerous factors of individual, structural, educational and professional change which might make the mission seem too tough. However, everyone can contribute to get there.
Do you feel you have found your meaning and purpose in life? Why?
It is not an actual anecdote but my personal experience: Keep all your options open... I went to the United States to study there for 1 year but stayed for 7 years in total. I have made my first professional experience over there, gave birth to my son... When I arrived as an administrative clerk at the Fondation Hirondelle, I thought I would stay there for 2 or 3 years. Now, 14 years later, I am actually leading it.