It all started back in 2009 whilst I was in Peru for almost one year working for a think tank, called the Institute for Liberty and Democracy, presided by the famous Economist Hernando de Soto. From Lima, my team and I were involved in development projects in West Africa – namely Senegal, Mali and Niger – to pursue de Soto’s economic theory to alleviate poverty. Please feel to consult this link www.ild.org.pe if you are as passionate as I am about development economics.
During that time I didn’t realise that this professional involvement with Africa would later on become a passion and a source of inspiration for this blog and future projects. As an Analyst, I researched and learnt about the politics, history, ethnicities, languages, and the characteristics of those three West African countries. Upon my return to France in order to complete my Master’s Degree in International Relations and Intercultural Management, I gathered with my Chadian friend – today expert in Human Rights and actively working with UNCHR in the Sahara – to discuss African politics and cultural differences.
I successfully completed my Master’s Degree in 2010 and I headed to Sydney to start research work on Indigenous children’s rights at the National Children’s and Youth Law Centre.
A year later I met an Eritrean who later became my friend, we were both volunteering in an NGO – while waiting to change a refugee visa for a permanent residency for him and while I could find a job in Brisbane for me. The day I met him is the day he received an email from his lawyer announcing him good news, his Permanent Residence. After walking hazardous roads to Sudan, going through the Kenyan administration for an Australian visa, he had finally found a safe new home. Not only was it a good day for him but it was a special day for me as I could feel his relief and the immense happiness when we hugged of joy.
I had heard of Eritrea before but our media never talk about it. He told me more about his country and his poignant personal story. It is only at that point that I realised how important it was to help unveil many clichés about Africa, to act as a pro bono advocate for many Africans who aren’t always given the opportunity to give their ‘side of the story’.
Today, I live in Melbourne, the most multicultural city I have ever lived in and Melbourne is the place that inspired me to launch this blog Far From Africa.
Hopefully this project will become the beginning of a journey with more stories to share and bring me close to Africa.