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Testimony of Marie Kanla

an alumnus of IFFEurope

Marie Kanla now lives in Africa, in Burkina Faso. But sixteen years ago, she was a student of the DU (Bac +3) Conduct of Humanitarian Projects at IFF Europe. From the profession of nurse to that of cabinetmaker, back on a trajectory.

What brought you to IFF Europe?

Marie Kanla: In the early 2000s, I was studying nursing because I liked the human relationship side and the attention to others of this job. Unfortunately, after my training, I realized that the idea I had had of the nursing profession was quite different and that it was not under these conditions that I wanted to practice it. By meeting young people from Fondacio, I got to know IFF Europe at the same time. I then embarked on the DU Conduct of Humanitarian Projects offered in this school and this, during the year 2004-2005, in order to be able to settle down and take a step back. This year will have allowed me to initiate changes in myself, to know myself better and above all to know at least where I no longer wanted to go.

In the end, was the Humanitarian Project Management DU a springboard in your life?

Yes, it allowed me to reorient myself in the social but always with this nurse cap. In France, very often, it is difficult to get out of boxes, whereas in Burkina Faso (country where I live), I was able to develop several professional hats and discover that I had multiple potentials.

What is your best memory at IFF Europe?

It dates back… in any case I keep the memory of a real fraternity between us, with a lot of kindness from everyone. I even kept in touch with a few. I also really liked living in a household where we were about ten students from different cultures and worlds: a real pleasure! During our mission in Burkina Faso, I met my husband with whom I have shared my life for fifteen years.

When I made the choice to come and settle in Burkina Faso and leave France, it was not done without fears, fears, anxieties…

What did you do when you left IFF Europe?

After IFF Europe, I oriented my career towards social work. I worked with various audiences for seven years: reception of unaccompanied foreign minors, children’s estate, post-cure center for people in a situation of drug addiction, social SAMU. Then I wanted and needed to take a break and we made the choice (with my husband) to come back to Burkina Faso.

Did you find work there?

In fact, with my husband, we set up our cabinetmaking business. We value standing dry wood in furniture and designer decorative objects (visible on our website www.kaala.afrique ). In this adventure, I am in charge of administration, accounting, customer relations, marketing… In parallel, this year, I trained online to become a certified coach ICI (International Coaching Institute). In a few months, I intend to develop my activity to support adolescents and adults (in e-coaching or face-to-face) on various issues such as self-confidence, self-esteem, emotional regulation, transitions of life, etc.

What advice could you give to IFF Europe students so that they can take flight and become actors in the world to come?

IFF Europe makes it possible to begin work on self-knowledge, which can lead to revealing ourselves and expressing all our potential, which the world needs. I will tell them to dare and allow themselves to meet others. When I made the choice to come and settle in Burkina Faso and leave France, it was not done without fears, fears, anxieties. But I have two sentences that still carry me today and that help me put one step ahead of others when I doubt: “The important thing is the path: it doesn’t matter if you’re wrong, it’s the steps you take, it’s the experience you draw from each thing that is important.” And the other sentence that ‘aid: “Just because it’s hard doesn’t mean it’s not possible.” In short, keep believing, go ahead and move forward!

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