This article was produced in collaboration with Citizen Reporter as part of Operation Silent Conditions. . This initiative combines Western France, Citizen Reporter and CFPJ in association with Georges Hourdin, ATD Fourth World and Secours Catholique. The purpose of the operation is to show the realities in which people found themselves in a difficult situation before the presidential elections.
The operating table is covered with a patterned red tablecloth. Half a dozen residents of Brest have come together to fix their lives with the help of digital tools. And the magic happens. At the House of Associations in Brest, ATD Quart-Monde launches a digital access support service every Thursday afternoon. The Readwrite Workshop, which takes place on Friday morning, also allows you to work on your writing and contribute to the workshop website.
“It’s okay, it works! »
On Thursday we come with our computer problems. The group is trying to establish a diagnosis and find a cure. “We do not organize training, we teach. We help each other. And if there’s anything you learn, it’s to teach it to someone else. explains Monique Argualch. A member of the ATD since 2005, she is at the forefront of this initiative. Purpose: to remove fears of digital technologies.
On a Thursday morning in March, pensioner Marie-Claire had a problem with her computer: her microphone did not work when she was videoconferencing with her family. Monique gives him a headset with a built-in microphone. Now we have to make a test. Gwendolyn, the youngest of the group, volunteers to help her. She takes her laptop and walks down the hall so as not to interfere. After several attempts, Marie-Claire jumped up: “It’s okay, it works! »
At the other end of the table, Valerie no longer has access to her Facebook account. But it was he who allowed him to connect to other applications, such as the used clothing site Vinted. Even more embarrassing, André, the former secretary, is having trouble with France Connect. The device is expected to facilitate access to government services such as taxes, health insurance or a pension fund. However, for those who struggle to use IT tools, this can be an additional barrier to accessing their most basic rights.
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“No 100% digital, yes 100% affordable! »
“People in a dangerous situation have to take the most steps,” notes Monica. Consequence: social workers are faced with people who are losing their autonomy as digitization advances and site ergonomics change. To fix this, the number of Public Internet Access Points (PAPIs) has increased. But for Valerie, these PAPIs are not enough: “I was often alone, I was supposed to have 30 minutes. I had to write down on paper the steps I was going to take and call someone if necessary. »
To combat the digital divide, ATD Fourth World also engages in advocacy. The report of the Senate indicates that 14 million French people suffer from illiteracy. Sandrine, one of the seminar participants, gave an interview to the Rights Defender on this topic. She denounces an all-digital system that allows the state to “save pennies on the backs of people who have few means.” She required key stakeholders to be involved in the creation of the sites. His keynote: No 100% digital, no 100% paper, 100% accessible. »
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“I came to study along with others”
The aim of ATD Fourth World is also to enable its activists to more easily express themselves both orally and in writing. Sandrine is the child of ATD. In 1987, she accompanied her mother to the Trocadero slab in Paris at the behest of Joseph Wrezinski, the movement’s founder. She benefited from the association’s popular education. A tradition that continues today with Lirecrire workshops on Friday mornings. They allow their members to express themselves online.
Patrick, retired journalist, former editor Western Franceparticipates in this. “I’m a boomer, I have problems with the network. I was a little scared to sign up for Facebook. Here I feel like everyone else.” he testifies. His writing skills, his knowledge of current affairs will come in handy for the Friday writing workshop.
Guy is often the first to arrive on Fridays to set up the equipment. Cautious but efficient, he was an ATD activist for nearly thirty years. He remembers joining the association ” to study “. “We were informed about the transition to the euro, social issues such as placement of children, etc. ” The topic of today’s seminar is the war in Ukraine. Everyone must write a letter to the person of their choice. Some are aimed at Ukrainian children, others at the President of the European Commission. Or directly to Vladimir Putin.
“Here we can open up, exchange points of view”
For twenty minutes the atmosphere is diligent. Everyone writes their text on half a green A4 sheet, except for Patrick, who writes directly on his computer. Then it’s time to read and discuss the contents of the letters. Then everyone enters their text into the seminar site management interface. Correction is collective, articles are signed and transferred by the group. The ATD Readwrite site has over a hundred articles and an average of 100 visitors a day.
“We are always reluctant to talk about politics with others because we try to avoid conflicts. But here we can open up and exchange points of view.” André testifies. “When we disagree, we discuss, but we don’t have big disagreements because the ATD values serve as a compass” she adds. The workshop helps fight the fear of writing for Gwendolyn: “I can find better words. I hope to improve myself so that I can help my daughter when she is doing her homework. I would also like to find a job and it will be helpful for me. »