Who Am I?

Marion Cabanes Far From Africa

© Andre Ambrosio – 07/05/2013

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.

28 thoughts on “Who Am I?

  1. Craig Schneider says:

    A very inspiring journey, Marion! I look forward to reading more of your stories about African people.

  2. Mélanie says:

    I would love to have your knowledge and your passion! Thank you for sharing all these great stories with us. Bises,

  3. Justino says:

    Great to learn the origins of your story, I would like to be a participant and let you know about my country Angola as much as I can. Hope to see you soon.
    Atè logo

  4. mariecorb says:

    It looks like your blog is growing very well known! And it’s growing better. Any new post is better then the other. You bring us a different point of view of countries that we have heard about only it’s disgraces, and you with yours stories shows us the human and beautiful part of it. Thanks Bella. Love your stories. Bisous

    • mcabanes says:

      Merci Mariane! Your words are so encouraging! Hopefully the FFA stories will change of preconceived ideas about Africa. Last night, I met a beautiful Australian family who took under their wing a heavily handicapped African child from Madagascar. He’s now learning English so well and he is so joyful! At the moment, his legs are pierced by metals but his life is now changing. Last night people were chatting with him and were telling him he will be soon playing soccer 🙂 He will for sure! This Australian couple also shared with us the moment when their eyes crossed this little boy. Out of the whole story and the beautiful outcome of his stay in Australia, the most beautiful moment is that exact second in Madagascar. I’m not sure how to describe it and I wouldn’t like to talk on their behalf but I think I can say ‘Humanity’ because ‘No man is an island’. 🙂

  5. toltu says:

    interesting story marion, keen to follow your blog posts! really liked your story on the oromo people!

  6. Ross says:

    Excellent blog, well done Marion!

  7. Aminata Doumbia says:

    Well done Marion, you are such a great writer! I love the stories and see you soon. xxx

    • mcabanes says:

      Thank you so much Aminata! I’m very glad that Far From Africa gave me the opportunity to know you. I hope to see you very soon my dear xxx

  8. Hi Marion! I have finally had the time to have a proper look at this blog – it is amazing! So inspiring and interesting – congratulations 🙂

  9. noemiericaux says:

    Your Blog is getting better with every new story Marion! Reading your stories is delightful, eye opening and a great source of knowledge! xxx

    • mcabanes says:

      Thanks noemiericaux for your support. It means a lot. I’m glad you enjoy those unique life stories. I know how much you love Africa and Africans. Xx

  10. Sisay says:

    Marion, you facilitated a platform that promote African Australiancommunity values and cultural diversity, foster community cohesion and build community spirit in Multicultural Australia. Your blog Far from Africa raised awareness and linked communities to show their culture and skills as well as their contributions to society. Similarly, you created a lasting positive impact on showing the diverse skills and culture of African Australian communities. You promoted communities, helped to build stronger communities, more resilient, more vibrant and inclusive communities by showing their skills and culture.

    • mcabanes says:

      Thanks Sisay for your encouragement!! As the National and Victorian Executive Coordinator of Celebration of African Australians Awards, you know it’s all about promoting talented Africans in Australia and stopping the usual negative stereotypes. 🙂

  11. Sisay says:

    Together we can make a difference!

  12. Darren Collins says:

    Impressive blog Marion. I will follow with interest. D.

  13. Chris says:

    Hi Marion, great to meet you in Echuca. Your blog is extremely interesting and inspiring. Keep up your great work and stories.

  14. ain ghazal says:

    Hi to every body, it’s my first pay a quick visit of this blog;
    this webpage consists of amazing and really fine material in support of visitors.

  15. Bronwyn says:

    Wonderful blog Marion and so inspiring. Keep up the great work 🙂

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