In France, the « Volunteers for people with autism” association has worked alongside the Orange Foundation for over 20 years to prevent the isolation of people with autism.
VA tisse un réseau de bénévoles à travers la France en liaison avec les parents et les professionnels de l’autisme.
VA has a network of volunteers across France in contact with parents and autism professionals.
Today, around 120 volunteers, mainly Orange Group employees, donate their spare time to help people with autism. On average, the volunteers help families or work at the facilities once a week. VA offers them and their parents training and support groups run by a psychologist, an association employee.
VA unites male and female volunteers who organise yearly solidarity events or socialisation initiatives which are fun, sporty or cultural to benefit people with autism (“Vélo-rail” outing in Rennes, cinema in Rennes, scavenger hunt in Lyon, etc.).
VA helps people with autism to access cultural and sporting activities by funding holidays. The care facilities allow the families to “breathe” and to find new contacts.
It is also responsible for collecting donations and passing them on to people with autism and their family or carers. All donations are used to fund holidays in a specialised centre and to fund training for parents of people with autism.
Volunteer feedback: “It’s really rewarding for me to try and do something for this child. I feel like I am useful and it is really satisfying to see his progress and to be able to take the weight off his parents’ shoulders from time to time.”