Thot is a French language awarding school for refugees and asylum seekers in Paris and its region.
We are creating Thot School to address the lack of certificating training for refugees and asylum seekers. Thot is not-for-profit organisation (“Association loi 1901”). Our goal is for our students to get the the DELF degree (French language studies diploma). Thot is a direct answers to a major need among the refugees and asylum seekers, but also is also a response to a major question in France:how can we ensure these people a future here?
Thot is the Egyptian God who embodies the concept of Knowledge, and who created the Language to spread knowledge among humans.
Thot team was created while supporting refugees and asylum seekers on the field, at the Lycée Jean-Quarré (Refugee’s House, 75019 Paris) which was a shelter for migrants for several months from August to October 2015.
Héloïse Nio giving a French class at the Refugee’s House in september 2015
Despite their diverse nationalities, their coequally harrowing stories, and their disparate social backgrounds, one same question seemed to be on everyone’s lips: Where can we learn French?
Accompanying learners to a diploma will allow:
- the asylum seekers to positivly validate a key step in their administrative procedure and integration
- the refugees to have the guarantee to be integrated into the French social and economical life
All thanks to a State diploma recognized internationally.
This signs at the same time the French Republican pact of equal opportunities through learning and knowledge.
Thanks to excellent teaching standards
- all teachers possess an FFL (French for Foreign Language) degree,
- they all are hired according to their experience,
- as much as possible, we hire teachers who also speak the students’ language, in order to facilitate a quick-paced transition from one language to the next.
Thanks to the combination of various methodologies in the teaching program
- RFI and TV5 Monde’s methodologies (in which all of our teachers are specifically trained)
- simulation of real-life situations for students
- introduction to French cultural life (heritage and society)
What are the funds for?
- 89% of our budget are dedicated to the teaching team (the salary of our teachers is the same as in the FFL programs in French Universities) and to the teaching team managers (fixed cost regardless to the number of students)
Our budget is detailed here:
About the project owner
After the evacuation of the Refugee’s House (Lycée Jean Quarré), in october 2015, we had profoundly changed. Touched by the determination of these women and men for a brighter future despite the tragedies they endured, we started working on this project.
So we built this project step by step, giving it the time and rigor needed, given the responsability we decided to take.
Judith Aquien, UX Designer, is the daughter of two literature professors. She used to work in literary publishing and her love for the French language led her to speak about the news’ words’ etymology for 2 years and a half on the radio.
Héloïse Nio, radio engineer, born in the Basque Country, spoke 2 languages before she started walking. She speaks Hindi, is a specialist of Bollywood movies, and her commitment led her to volunteer be FFL teacher at Secours Populaire for 1 and a half year, then during the time the Refugee’s House was occupied.
Jennifer Leblond, consultant, dedicates her time to the digital innovation et collborative economy. Concerned about the life of her hometown, she quickly developed a strong link with the families living in the social center her mother was in charge of, she gave dance classes and provided school support to immigrant children. She is now involved in suburban schools to help teenagers find internships in startups to restore equal opportunities.
The 3 founders are supported by a brilliant teaching team, which will represent the excellence of Thot:
Our Educational Director, Imaad Ali (ENS Lyon in Arabic Studies and Inalco in Didactic of languages and cultures), is an expert in teaching and learning languages. He speaks English, Arabic, Shimaore and Shibushi (language of Mayotte, land of his origin), and learns the Comorian, Hebrew, Turkish and Persian. He taught FFL at ESF Paris, Polytechnique, Paris 7 and is now a professor at IESEG and frames the FFL CUPA Division since 2012.
Our Teaching and training Manager, Mariame Camara, has been Imaad Ali’s collaborator for 3 years in various teaching and language projects. She studied French literature at the University of Illinois in Chicago and has graduated in Didactic of FFL. She taught 3 years abroad and she is now a FFL teacher in various universities (Sorbonne-Nouvelle, NYU, Sciences-Po Paris, IESEG).
Last but not least, the team is strengthen by the referent to the refugees and asylum seekers who will attend Thot’s classes. She will organize the online network with social medias, cultural outings and various activities and guide them to the associations to meet their needs when necessary:
Agathe Dahyot, is an interaction designer who comes from French Britain. She has worked in a studio specialized in data visualization for 3 years. Really inspired by comics, she is also a creative illustrator. Driven by the need to respond to an emergency situation, she decided to take a year to fully devote to volunteering and elected Thot the place where she wants to take action.