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Newsletter of the General Assembly 15-16 April 2016 held in France

The international Federation of the Little brothers of the Poor brings its decision-making bodies twice a year, spring and fall.  With the president, the delegates from the eight member countries form the Board and the General Assembly and ensure decision-making on a set of issues of mutual interest to the mission of the little brothers. They plan all the actions found to be relevant and useful to all.

The last General Assembly was held in April 15 and 16, in Gagny, France. Among the issues that were the subject of the work and decisions of the Assembly, here are some highlights:


·         After consulting all member countries and meet getting their approval, the General Assembly proceeded to the final adoption of the mission and vision of the Federation. These official documents will be available on the Federation website.

·         The Assembly agreed that these official documents, which require the support of its members, will be adopted in French, which will be the official version. The Board/GA will acknowledge the translations into other languages (English, Spanish and possibly others).

·         With regard to the International Charter, the Assembly adopted a version that must be ratified by each country. Delegates, members of the GA, have a mandate to come back to the next GA meeting in November with the confirmation of member countries.

·         The mandate of the Commission on the future of the Federation has been revised and the Commission has accelerated its work. More meetings will be held to propose recommendations faster.

·         Delegates received the representatives of Romania and Mexico, who wish to become members of the International Federation. They received the various elements of their applications and have listened attentively to their excellent presentations. A decision will be taken at the General Assembly in November. The continuous and valuable support of France who sponsors them, allows them to consider this new phase of their development.

·         The Assembly adopted an internal policy on crisis management for the benefit of its members. It is now in place to enable the Federation to respond rapidly to particularly difficult situations that might live its members and establish a process of assistance in different situations.

·         The financial statements of the Federation are healthy despite the exceptional deficit generated by the 2015 International Conference. However, because some funds were reserved for this Conference, the deficit was easily covered.

·         To enrich the participation of member countries in our bodies (Board and General Assembly), it was decided, on an exceptional basis, to reimburse the expenses of a second representative per country for these meetings in addition to the delegate. The results of the Commission's work on the future of the Federation will enable us to reassess the representation of the member countries

·         Finally, there will be elections for president and treasurer positions in November for a new term of two years. Their mandate will be subject to a call for applications. In due time, the information will be passed to the members on all aspects related to these elections.

President:  Pierre Asselin  

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A sign that isolation of elderly is a today’s society debate in Canada…

February was marqued by several invitation on TV show, from the famous “Banc public” on Télé-Québec to Salut Bonjour, or from CityLife to Montreal Billboard, two English-speaking TV shows. They were fantastic occasions to raise awareness of the problem of isolation of the elderly among the general public.

Banc public with Guylaine Tremblay on Télé-Québec – Isolation of the elderly


Les Petits Frères were invited, along with the famous comedienne and actress Guylaine Tremblay to discuss the isolation of our elders.

Loneliness can affect anybody, but our elders are the most at risk of being neglected and feeling abandoned. Older adults who are socially isolated will tend to develop problems which can affect their physical and mental condition. The mission of Les Petits Frères is to create interactions in their lives. 

Salut, Bonjour ! – The consequences of isolation on health

Following an article published in la Presse stating that one elder out of five doesn’t have any close friend, the director of Les Petits Frères du Québec was invited to discuss this problem with Ève-Marie Lortie on TV show Salut Bonjour.

« The more we get older, the more this pain will weigh upon us and we cannot get over it because our faculties decrease: hearing, mobility, etc. Not only isolation can cause diseases but, because you are alone, it’s all the more difficult to recover from it. » – Caroline Sauriol, Executive director of Les Petits Frères of Québec

CityLife à MAtv – Living alone, a growing tendency

Living alone is an important tendency in Montréal, but the question is what is the impact on elderly persons? This was the subject of a round table introduced by Tina Tenneriello on TV show CityLife de MaTV in which were invited Les Petits Frères.

Montreal Billboard à MAtv – A focus on the mission of Les Petits Frères 

Lucie Pinsonneault, director of Donation, was invited on TV show Montreal Billboard de MAtv which showcases organizations that bring a positive change to the life of Montreal’s population.

She described the different positive impacts of the mission of Les Petits Frères, which is fighting isolation of the elderly by creating a committed and loyal family around them.

More details: les Petits Frères website

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COP21 Paris: to what extent and how can older people be concerned by the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference?

HelpAge International will attend the COP21 in Paris from 30th of November to 11th December 2015 to ensure that the strategies being developed take older people into consideration. Here we propose an extract from a very interesting article on the subject that can be found on HelpAge website.

(c) Robin Wyatt/HelpAge International
Man Chan, the head of the village Piang Kok in Thailand, inside his DRR nerve centre


The United Nations Climate Change Conference (or COP21) is a crucial opportunity to create the first universal, legally-binding agreement to effectively tackle climate change and move the societies of the world towards resilient, low-carbon economies. This agreement would come into effect in 2020. 

To achieve this, the method must be two-fold: working to reduce global warming to under 2°C through cutting back on greenhouse gas emissions, and ensuring that countries where climate change is already having an effect can adapt.

A team from HelpAge will attending key events in Paris to call for world leaders to agree a realistic and binding framework, and to ensure that climate change strategies being developed take into account that climate change is happening within an ageing world. 

What does climate change mean to older people?

Climate change is leading to a more volatile and unpredictable world, where natural disasters are occurring five times as often as they were in the 1970s.

During catastrophes such as floods, earthquakes and storms, older people are disproportionately affected due to their specific, age-based vulnerabilities. 

How can COP21 help ensure older people are more disaster resilient?

Key to reducing the impact of natural catastrophes on older people is disaster risk reduction (DRR). By working with older people to understand their vulnerabilities, policymakers can implement age-inclusive resilience planning to mitigate the impacts of events such as floods, storms and earthquakes.

HelpAge carries out DRR work in disaster-prone communities in more than 15 countries worldwide. We promote resilience through initiatives that target older people and that allow older people to take a lead on disaster risk assessment. 

To help older people in villages in Thailand, we’ve helped them to develop post-disaster reaction plans led by a ten-person committee. This includes checking in on the older members of the community to ensure they are okay.

Find out more :

- Discover in which countries the disaster risk faced by older people is greatest in the Disaster Risk and Age Index.

- Read more about DRR and climate change work.

HelpAge International / 12-2015 / Extract


To read the entire article:

Other related media:
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Together we can overcome isolation

100 people from 10 different countries gathered for the Congress of the International Federation of the little brothers of the Poor. Two days of conferences and workshops related to the question of aging and isolation of the elderly:

Keynote address from Dr. Jerome Gabis on the first day – A preposition proposition: Can we live without “WITH”?


-          The Aging Offender – Kevin Bryan

-          Empowering Senior out of Homelessness – Jean-Michel Giraud

-          Opening Minds through Art (OMA): Overcoming the stigma and isolation of Dementia - Dr. Fopma -Loy

-          Spirituality and the Second half of Life - Sr. Barbara

-          Video presentation “Isolation” - Marley Molkentin


Keynote address from Teepa Snow on the second day – Progression through Dementia: finding gems and seeing more than loss


-          Welcoming Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT) – Older Adults Kathi Boyle

-          Housing and Senior trends - Mark Browning

-          Making Visits Valuable and Positive – Teepa Snow

-          Engaging the Healer Within - Jackie Millay

-          Mental Illness and the Elderly - Gary Pollock

-          Why Do They Do That? Understanding Symptoms and Behaviors – Teepa Snow


These two days gave the opportunity for all to meet and exchange about the programs they run to fight against isolation of the elderly, thanks to the commitment of thousands of volunteers. Everyone left with new ideas and new energy. Next Congress will be in 2018.

> View programm in detail

[The conference documents are available on the intranet of the International Federation]

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Congress of the International Federation in Cincinnati from 15-18 October 2015

The Congress of the International Federation of the little brothers of the Poor will take place on October 15 to 18 in Cincinnati - USAThis conference is an opportunity for all members of the International Federation to meet, to exchange and share their skills.

During these three days, participants will have the opportunity to hear several speakers on topics such as:
- Prison Aging,
- Art and dementia,
- Homelessness and the elderly,
- Spirituality in the second part of his life.

The International Federation's members share the same mission: to fight against the isolation of the elderly through mobilizing citizens.

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Meeting in Romania with the founding members of the association Niciodata singur – Prietenii Varstnicilor in Romania

The president of the International Federation of the little brothers of the Poor met Saturday, August 29, the founding members of the association Niciodata singur – Prietenii Varstnicilor.

This Romanian association, whose mission is to fight against the isolation of older people, is born of a partnership between the Foundation Princess Margareta and les petits frères des Pauvres France.

Volunteers of the Never Alone program have decided to create an autonomous association after three years of work in different areas:
- The mobilization of volunteers,
- The governance,
- Fundraising,
- The situation of the elderly in Romania.

The president of the International Federation of the little brothers of the Poor took advantage of this meeting to highlight the work done and to explain the conditions for membership of the International Federation.

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The 7 American chapters meet in Oka


The representatives of the American chapters have met in Oka, Québec last June from 11 to 14 in order to reinforce the American network.

This week-end was the occasion for the American chapters to redefine their mission, vision, goals and objectives.

It is a big step forward for the American network thanks to the work of the representatives of Boards and Directors of the chapters of Boston, Chicago, Cincinnati, Houghton, Minneapolis, Philadelphia and San Francisco.       

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Roses against forgetting, a simple gesture to make happy many elders

For the 17th consecutive year, Amics de la Gent Gran (Catalonia) launches its most important awareness and fundraising campaign of the year: Roses against Forgetting. On the occasion of the traditional holiday in Catalonia known as San Jordi (Saint Georges), 25.000 roses are sold at the price of 4€. These roses are a brooch made also by a nonprofit organization.

Also, on April 23rd, San Jordi’s Day, Amics de la Gent Gran will welcome more than one thousand volunteers that will offer to the elderly that they accompany all year round a natural rose and a book (typical action in this day). It takes place in 11 cities in Catalonia where the foundation leads its action.

In some cases, these volunteers are students or workers from partner companies that will offer roses to the elders living in residential homes.  Also, celebrities from the political, cultural and social scope will join this movement of solidarity with the elderly. In total, it will be more than 2.500 natural roses that will be distributed.

To communicate about this campaign, there is a website: where everybody can share a photo with the rose and an elderly person. 

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A half-marathon for the Seniors!

"Mali bracia Ubogich" association, together with a pair of friends, Marzena and Leszek, decided to draw attention to one particular problem of Seniors in Poland. Those who can't walk by themselves any more, are often "jailed" in their homes, simply because they can't afford a wheelchair. We can and want to change that!

For that reason, we will attempt to jointly complete a half-marathon in Poznań. Leszek will run 21 kilometers, pushing a wheelchair with Ms Ewa, who is an elderly person and has difficulties with moving. We want to show that everything is possible and that we should pay attention to the problems of our Seniors.
Apart from awareness raising, we also aim to collect money to fund two wheelchairs that will be jointly used by Seniors who "mali bracia Ubogich" Association is taking care of. The amount needed is 3.000 PLN (around 750 EUR).
This half-marathon will likely be the hardest thing ever done for Leszek. But the smile of Seniors and all good things happening around it, are definitively worth it. A huge emotional support will make it possible. We believe that it's not possible to change the World at once, but it is possible to change life of individual people. This is what we were focusing on during our previous "Kilimanjaro" action and this is that we are focusing now and in the future.
Please, join us and support!
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Newsletter of the General Assembly of March 20 and 21, 2015 held in Barcelona

The international Federation of the little brothers of the Poor brings its decision-making bodies twice a year, spring and fall. With the president, the delegates from the eight member countries form the Board and the General Assembly and ensure decision-making on a set of issues of mutual interest to the mission of the little brothers. They plan all the actions found to be relevant and useful to all.

Amics de la Gent Gran warmly welcomed the General Assembly in Barcelona on March 20 and 21. Here are a few main lines, emerging from these meetings.
First of all, emerges a general observation that the International Federation is consolidating, structures itself now with more methodology, thanks to noticeable engagements of the president, Pierre Asselin, the Treasurer, Francesc Patricio and to the involvement of France. It is getting organized to achieve greater autonomy and ability to better serve its members.
To be noted in particular:
• That the members of the Board/Assembly were pleased to welcome several new delegates representing their countries, including Wolf Hinsching (Germany). Caroline Sauriol (Canada), Hervé Goarant (Switzerland), and Simone Mitchell - Peterson (USA).
• The Congress, which will be held in Cincinnati, USA, (October 15-18, 2015) is progressing well. The organizing team promises you current and interesting subjects. Budgets are defined and delegations are getting organized.
• The commission on the future and the governance of the Federation already met a few times. Its work is progressing well on substantial items such as the International Charter that must promote common values, the statutes and bylaws of the federation and with a look at budgets. The commission will continue its work during the year and will report.
• A workshop allowed delegates forming the Board to review its role, both to reflect the needs of the countries towards the Board as to return to them in order to circulate the decisions and information.
• The various elements of the strategic plan of the Federation are progressing well. Some files have already been delivered, others are on the way to completion and adjustments to the plan have been made to update it and reflect needs, including communication ones.
• France is actively monitoring a partnership, which should enable the Federation to soon welcome a new member, Romania. Their representatives will be among us in Cincinnati.
• Finally, a Committee is currently working on the development of a crisis management policy for emergency assistance needs that could be expressed by members to the Federation. This issue is progressing and the federation will soon be able to count on a well defined framework for action to handle these situations.
Pierre Asselin
The International Federation of the little brothers of the Poor is a non profit international organization established in eight countries, with thousands of volunteers throughout the world.
It was established in 1979, so as to promote the action of the little brothers of the Poor globally by helping member organizations to develop their action, by encouraging and allowing communications between member countries and by helping in the development of establishments in other countries of the world.
President : Pierre Asselin
Delegate : Wolf Hinsching
Delegate : Caroline Sauriol
Delegate: Francesc Patricio
Delegate : Alain Villez
Delegate: James O’Brien
Delegate: Barbara Boryczka
Suisse :
Delegate : Hervé Goarant
Delegate: Simone Mitchell-Peterson
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Knitting for and with Elders

Pauline Mercier, volunteer and Madame Beauchemin, old friend from Canada

During the last years, various associations of Little Brothers-Friends of the Elderly has developed different activities related to knitting. Whether if it is to make some fundraising, solidarity or to share one afternoon between volunteers and elders, the action of knitting is growing and here are some examples …


Les petits frères. Canada

A group of old friends from Sherbrooke and Montreal feel useful and break their isolation by knitting for the community. Their soft and warm gesture helps the new immigrants of the region of Sherbrooke with mitts, scarfs and woollen caps, but also in Montreal, where they adorn the view of the passers-by with the creation of a collective work which dresses in a "graffiti-knitting", a tree in front of the house of the “les petits frères” headquarters, at Garnier street.

These projects were introduced by two volunteers who largely contributed to their implementation and who participated, by their leadership, to improve the well-being of the old friends.

Amics de la Gent Gran. Barcelone


"La bufanda de la iaia " is a project launched by Amics de la Gent Gran and “El mundo al revés” communication agency. Was set up for the first time in September, 2012. 

The objectives at the origin of this project were: promoting social action and raising awareness by the development of knitting meetings where volunteers of all ages, promote intergenerational relationships and active ageing.


Les petits frères des Pauvres. France


This action, called “Mets ton bonnet”, was born in 2005. Innocent, a company that makes fresh fruit juice, launched an operation to support les petits frères des Pauvres. The objective was to help the association, but also to create a network of support.

The company suggested the creation of knitting mini-caps to be put on the bottles of smoothie and, for every sold bottle, Innocent will put back 20 centimes to the association. A 62 925,40 euro check marked the end of the operation "Mets ton bonnet" 2014.

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"Time has another importance for her"

International exchange is important within our organization. Every two or three years our European volunteers have this possibility to meet each other: 2009 in Barcelona and 2012 in Paris. In 2014 it was up to Germany to be the host.

International exchange is important within our organization. Every two or three years our European volunteers have this possibility to meet each other: 2009 in Barcelona and 2012 in Paris. In 2014 it was up to Germany to be the host.

Volunteers and employees planed and organized hand in hand the meeting. “It was important for us that volunteers contribute to the program. Because they are the main actors and they know best which issues matter.”, says Klaus-W. Pawletko. Very briefly it became evident that the volunteers meeting should provide possibilities to exchange experience in volunteers work. The two days program was correspondingly organized. On Friday Barbara Weigl – member of a parliamentary party and Gertraud Hardtmann – a 82 years old psychoanalyst started with two speeches. Then the around 50 volunteers had the first chance in one-to-one-interviews to get to know each other better.

In the afternoon the volunteers discussed in workshops the issue what is special about the volunteer work within our organization. The answers were quite different. For Brigitte from France was it importance to share her time with an elderly. Because of her visits of an old lady she realized: Time has another importance for her. Attracta from Ireland learned through her volunteer work to listen to old people. “In Ireland there is this phrase: The human as one mouth and two ears. I always have to think about that when I am talking to elderly.”, is she telling other volunteers. Nuria from Barcelona is visiting an old lady and she likes best that her elderly appreciates so much the visits. “I am working during the week. We meet every Saturday. She is visiting a hairdresser before. Just for me. That´s very touching. The meetings with her are a real pleasure for me.”

On the second day the volunteers discussed the challenges in their contact with elderly and how can the organization support them. One big challenge came up very briefly: the appropriate dimension between closeness and distance.

After the two days all participants were satisfied with the exchanges and new findings they can take back home.


Ann Bieberstain, staff at Freunde alter Menschen

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Little Brothers – Friends of the Elderly celebrates around the world the International Day of Older Persons

The 1st October is the International Day of Older Persons and for this reason, the different organizations members of the International Federation les petits frères des Pauvres, are organizing different events to commemorate it.

In North America, the organization in Canada will have a dinner Garnier Street in the Montréal Chapter to celebrate the event with their old friends and the ones who no longer go out will receive a white rose during the first two weeks of October. Flowers will be distributed also in Quebec City and different events will take place in Sherbrook and Point Island.

The Boston, Minneapolis, Philadelphia and Upper Michigan Chapters of Little Brothers – Friends of the Elderly will be giving flowers to the elderly friends but also in public spaces to raise awareness for the cause. San Francisco Chapter will profit this day to host an open house.

In Europe, different activities are taking place. In Poland, a big event for seniors will be organized as well as a communication campaign on Internet and social networks. Also Spain will organize an important communication campaign #NoEstaisSolos, with the launching of a short film and a scientific seminar where different good practices of fighting against elderly isolation will be discussed by experts.

Ireland will be handing out red carnations in the front of the General Post Office to older people and a ‘Spontaneous Flash Mob Line Dancing event’ which we will film for You Tube. On the Wednesday Club will be around the ‘UN Older Person Day’ themed and they will be announcing the winner of the 2014 Postman of the Year Award.

For the 6th year, XX roses will be distributed in France under the motto “Fleurs de la fraternité” and a communication campaign, including the distribution of a spot on TV and social network is organized for the same day and the weeks before.

In Germany an intergenerational meeting will take place in a school, where kids will ask questions to the elders and also they will prepare a presentation about how they imagine themselves when they will be 80 years old. Elders and volunteers will meet for a coffee afternoon.

The two country partners of the International Federation will join also the international movement. In Romania 5.000 flowers and cards will be delivered in public spaces and one major event for elderly friends will take place with the presence of HRH Princess Margareta of Romania. In Mexico, volunteers will give flowers to the people in their neighbourhood.

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An Out-of-the-Ordinary Organization

This summer was a complete surprise for me. I knew I was going to work with a social organization, but I didn’t realize it would surpass my expectations. I knew I was going to visit Senior Citizens, but I didn’t realize they would end up teaching me. I knew I was going to work with a coordinator and colleagues, but I didn’t realize how much fun it would be to work alongside them.

My name is Lucas Jones, I’m 24, I’m from the state of Georgia in the US and I am so happy that I decided to do an internship with Les Petits Frères des Pauvres in Marseille.

I have worked in other organizations, with political parties and NGOs, but none had the heart and the unity that I found in Les Petits Frères. From Eric at the reception desk to Manuel the director, you can expect a warm welcome and a wide smile, and I could honestly say that about everyone in the office.

My responsibilities consisted mainly of managing the logistics of a local team of volunteers. I carried out the internal communication of a specific area in Marseille, managed updates, logistics and whatever else was needed to ensure the smooth functioning of the team’s small working parts. I also compiled and organized information so that all involved could easily access and understand key data.

Along with logistic work, twice a week I visited senior citizens in their homes. I will always remember Madame B’s stories of her ancestors, the wonderful cakes of Madame D’A and all Monsieur C’s funny stories.

I worked alongside an excellent team of volunteers with a coordinator that trusted me, that listened to my needs as well as my ideas. Instead of telling me exactly what to do, I was presented with a problem and given the creative liberty to resolve the issue in the best way I saw fit. True to the mission of Les Petits Frères, I was always treated with respect and fellowship.

What did I find in Les Petits Frères? An organization with people as good as their motto: “Some flowers before the bread.” If an organization can be judged by the quality of its employees, you will not find better. As I now finish my internship with them this summer, I can say without hesitation that this organization is truly as good as it seems.

Les Petits Frères’ mission isn’t just charity work; it is a real need to which they are responding in our society. Both the employees as well as the volunteers believe in the mission and importance of Les Petits Frères des Pauvres. I am so thankful to have been able to improve my work skills while performing a work truly significant.

~Lucas Jones

Volunteer, team Chartreux in Marseille. July 24 2014

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Vacation program : Let's go !

Summer voluntary work

During the last summer, 95 foreign volunteers strengthened the teams of volunteers for the holiday program in France.

As every year, with the arrival of the summer, the movement of volunteers who decide to share their holidays with the elderly began. It is the case of Laura that, on June 27th of this year, left Madrid with a suitcase and a big desire to live a new experience as volunteer with elderly.

It is thanks to the friend of her mother, Rosario, volunteer in Little Brothers-Friends of the Elderly in Madrid, that she learnt about the possibility of participating in holidays organized by the association les petits frères des Pauvres in France. Her wishes: practice the language, because she studies French at the official school of languages in Madrid, but also to make activities with isolated people. 

In the program, 12 days in the holiday home called La Prée, and the discovery of the region: the Cathedral of Bourges, the market of Issoudun and his museum of contemporary art. But also times playful as visit in the farm, the marriage of the daughter of the gardener, the “petanque” matches and music and dance evenings (piano and flute thanks to Pauline and Guy, coordinator of the group).

Finally, days filled with happiness and with unforgettable moments for her and for the elderly who, thanks to her commitment and the one of the other volunteers, were able to take advantage of 12 days outside their routine and their everyday life.

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