French students write letters to Norfolk's care homes to help bring back smiles

Students from Lycee Stella Maris High School, in France

Students from Lycee Stella Maris High School, in France, have been involved in the Here to Help: Not Alone campaign. Picture shows Estitxu, Umay, Orane, Maialen and Léa - Credit: Lycee Stella Maris High School

A group of students from France has helped to put smiles on the faces of others by becoming pen friends.  

Taking part in the EDP campaign, Here to Help: Not Alone, the group from Lycee Stella Maris High School, based in the south west of the country, has been writing letters to residents in care homes in Norfolk.  

Their teacher, Aurélie Poidevin, 39, of Anglet, in Basque country, facilitated 31 of her students taking part in the initiative after reading the launch article online. 

The outside of Lycee Stella Maris High School, France

Students from Lycee Stella Maris High School (pictured), in France, took part in the Here to Help: Not Alone pen friend initiative to help care home residents - Credit: Lycee Stella Maris High School,

She said: "I randomly found about the initiative while searching for this type of exchange on the internet.   

"My students study social and health issues and I thought that having my students write in English, to English speakers, would be great.  

"It's been a fabulous experience for the students who took part. I did learn some things about how they felt about being on lockdown and also about their sense of generosity."  

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One student, Maialen, said it “filled her with joy” knowing she was helping to give the care home residents a smile.  

"It's a great initiative," she said. "For me, it took me only a short time to write these few lines and they may have brought a little comfort."  

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Estitxu, another student, said: "I enjoyed writing this letter. It was very important to me to be able to make a person happy. I liked having the feeling of being able to help someone."

And students Uma, Léa, and Orance all agreed that the project would bring happiness to others.  

Léa especially enjoyed writing to isolated people during lockdown.

"Knowing that someone was going to be happy to receive a little bit of attention made me smile and reminded me of how lucky I was.”  

While the project reminded Orane of her own family.

"I was able to give a little happiness and knowing that I was able to give pleasure to someone really made me happy." she said.

"It made me think of my grandmother who is alone, and I understand how hard it is to not see your family anymore." 

To become a Here to Help: Not Alone pen friend please email and you will be connected with another person as soon as it is possible to do so.  

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