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Welcome to Essifa!

Cœur de Gazelles

The direct benefits of donating…

This morning, the Cœur de Gazelles team sets up under a cloudy sky in the premises of the small Essifa school, renovated in 2018 by the participants of the Cap Fémina Aventure during their ‘social action’ day. The street quickly fills up as patients flock to the temporary clinic. The medical team is overwhelmed with work, but their faces are filled with joy: they are happiest when they feel really useful.

As the morning progresses, the doctors call on the services of the donations unit. Thanks to the Gazelles and the caravan’s sponsor, Volkswagen Véhicules Utilitaires, several wheelchairs were collected for this year’s caravan. These wheelchairs are of enormous importance because people with reduced mobility are an added burden on their families. A wheelchair is the best way for them to break their isolation and regain a measure of autonomy.

Today, several patients are given wheelchairs. These include little Saïd, aged 9, who has had cerebral palsy since birth. Saïd was given a wheelchair donated by the parents of a child with a similar disability. It is a huge relief for his mother, who has carried Saïd on her back constantly since his birth, and a real pleasure for the donations team to see the smile on her face.

Hamid, 80, was brought directly by Marina, president of Cœur de Gazelles. As his family had no means of transporting him, he was provided with a wheelchair to allow him to visit the caravan.

After a complete examination, the doctors diagnose a polyarthralgia, i.e. multiple joint pains. His blood pressure is very high (26) and is immediately treated to reduce the risk of a stroke, which is relatively high at his age.

Hamid feels better after taking the medication, and even asks to exchange his wheelchair for a walker because he prefers to retain a measure of autonomy by walking.

The importance of the dermatology unit

Ilham, head of the dermatology unit, detects a potential case of cancer. Baha, aged 72, a former farmer, has come for a consultation because of a large lesion on the outside of his right arm.

The lesion, which appeared about 1 ½ years ago, is continuing spreading and is beginning to worry him. Ilham immediately examines the patient: the lesion presents specific signs of squamous cell carcinoma, a cancer of the skin. The patient is then sent to Noura, in charge of patient follow-up, who arranges for his transfer to the hospital for a more in-depth examination. Baha will require surgery to remove the lesion and eliminate the potential cancer.

Awareness, the watchword of the day

In addition to providing medical consultations, the Cœur de Gazelles team is working to raise awareness among the local communities, and especially children, about hygiene and the environment.

Every volunteer is part of this awareness-raising effort, according to his or her speciality.

For example, the dentists are charged with teaching children about dental hygiene: good dental habits are not well established in certain regions, and well-informed children make healthier adults.

Géraldine, assisted by Hassan, the Dupessey truck driver,  takes advantage of a moment of calm to show the children how to properly brush their teeth. When explained as a game, the children enjoy listening and the message gets through easily.

Meanwhile, some of the Moroccan volunteers are educating children about the environment. Once again, the initiative takes the form of a game. The children are shown cards with pictures of different items of waste, and have to guess how long they take to biodegrade.

The more they get caught up in the game, the more fun they have: laughter can be heard, and their faces light up with pride when they find the right answer.

In addition to its educational goal, this activity is a pleasant way to spend some time with the children while their parents consult with the caravan’s specialist, or until it is time for their examination.




Dominique Serra has dedicated this 29th edition to Nasrin Sotoudeh – prominent Iranian lawyer and human rights advocate – who has been sentenced to 38 years in prison and 148 lashes for “inciting corruption and prostitution” by defending women who took off their headscarves in public.

I encourage everyone to sign the petition for her release.