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Meet Natacha, a volunteer who has supported Konexio for 3 years

Natacha is 27 years old and works as a Customer Success Manager at Closd, a legal-tech startup. Natacha grew up in Alsace and has lived in Paris since she graduated. 

Did you specifically want to do volunteer work in the digital sector? 

Not necessarily in the digital field, but I was thinking of joining a non-profit in a field that interests me and where I would have skills that could be useful. When I discovered Konexio, I was offered to come and see how a course operated, and I liked it, so I joined the adventure.

What motivated you to join Konexio?

When I arrived in Paris, I had some time to spare and I wanted to make myself useful. I found out about Konexio totally by chance and I saw it as a sign. Just when I was thinking about joining a non-profit, I discovered Konexio. I find the project interesting and I like the idea that at our small scale, we can participate in making people's daily lives easier, because in today's world having a basic skill set of digital skills has become a prerequisite.

Do you think these trainings have helped you develop your own skills?

Yes, it clearly allowed me to challenge myself and therefore to have to adapt to different audiences. The groups are very diverse, in terms of personality, nationality, skills, professional projects etc. In my job, I have to explain and train my clients on the platform that my company provides. My daily professional life enriches the courses I give at Konexio and vice versa. It's a virtuous circle. I also learned (and am still learning) how to manage and lead a group. I am also perfecting how to create an interactive environment in order to give everyone a voice and try to adapt to everyone's rhythm.

Do you think these courses are useful for the learners? If so, how specifically?

I hope so, but I think so. You can clearly see an evolution between the first and the last course. The learners progress very quickly. It is even more noticeable in the beginners' courses. During the courses, in general, there are a lot of questions. I feel a real interest and involvement from the learners (even if there are exceptions at the margin). I ask at each session if they have learned new things and if the courses were useful. I've never been told no yet, so either everyone is very polite or the courses are really useful.

Beyond the main mission, to fight against the digital divide with a public that is not very exposed to digital tools, I realized during the courses that there was a more global mission that I would describe as fostering social bonds. I see the beginnings of friendships being born in front of my eyes, I know that some learners see each other outside of the courses. I have the impression that for some, attending classes is also a moment of socialization, I feel that it is almost as important as the original mission. 

What surprised you about your involvement with Konexio?

I am still surprised to see that there are connections and bonds that are created between the learners. There are small groups that are created. There is a nice spirit during the courses, and there is a lot of mutual support between the students. 

Do you have an anecdote related to your experience with Konexio? (with a learner, another volunteer, about the content of the training etc.)

I myself have rediscovered things during the course, features that I rarely use in Word or questions from some students that I didn't have the answer to that led me to do some research. I have an anecdote, thanks to the course on fake news, I discovered that there had been jellyfish in Venice during the lockdown and that jellyfish could eat each other. Then there was a digression about unusual foods, which was pretty funny. 

How would you encourage those around you to volunteer?

It is perhaps not the expected answer, but I think that not everyone is made to be a volunteer. You need to have free time, which is not the case for everyone. If I had to give some advice, I would say that you have to do it for the right reasons. When you tell people that you volunteer, they tend to congratulate you and you become Mother Teresa for a minute. But I always respond by saying that I do it because I enjoy doing it and I also get a personal benefit from it. So my advice would be, try it if you want to, but only continue if you really like it because otherwise it will become a burden and it will become counterproductive. If you decide to continue, really get involved.

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