Drivers of Change : Marie Michelle Lepredour : Curepipe COE

Drivers of Change : Marie Michelle Lepredour : Curepipe COE

Date: April 1, 2020
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“La femme peut faire la politique aussi bien que les hommes, voire meme mieux.”

My most memorable experience would have to be when I was the winner of the SADC Gender Protocol Summit 2013 here and then I flew to SA for the regional summit. Never did I think that one day I would fly on behalf of a competition. I will never forget that moment of truth when they announced me as winner. That day not only I felt proud, but my entire city felt so proud.  

I was already a social worker in my city but through Gender Links, my perception about everything changed. When your worldview about something changes; Everything changes.  I am a pre-primary teacher and the coordinator for “Terre de Paix”. I also preside over “La case zenfan” and the women’s “Arc-en-ciel”. I am also president of District Protection Child Committee at the Regional level. I am vice president of the women council and councillor of the Municipal council of Curepipe.  

I met GL for the first time at the Municipality. At that time I was still a primary teacher. They came for a workshop where I was exposed to their system of work. Then for the second time they came for a workshop concerning self-confidence. After that, I have attended almost every workshop they hold till date.  It was during the self-confidence workshop that I realised that there’s something lacking in me. I was already a bold woman. But somewhere inside I lacked in confidence. And when I developed that confidence in me, I was elected councillor of the municipal council of Curepipe.  

Being a primary teacher, I have been able to take women out on the streets and get them involved in politics. I have been able to make them speak, get them out of alcoholism and get them involved in civic activities. This was the change in my life: the ability to do all that, prior gender links I did not know I could do that.

I felt there was something lacking somewhere and when I started activism, it felt good. I felt like I achieved something.  Through GL I am able to fight anything. I am not scared of anything. I earned that self-confidence in myself. It was GL who has helped bring this transformation in me. 

I have been able to communicate well. GL has taught me how to be proactive and communicate freely. I learned that communication is not only talking and passing on messages but listening and processing feedback and then react.

The changes have affected my family as well. My husband died 30 years back and since then I have been on my own with my 3 children. Being a widow in the Mauritian society means you’re helpless and weak. You always have to depend on others for help and support. But for me it was different. Bold as I was, my children followed my path. They have learned to better deal with the unscrupulous people of society.  

My children have always supported me. They were proud of me and they showed me their support. My daughter Geraldine, is disabled since birth and when I started my campaign she showed extreme courage. During that period she learned how to do many things on her own such as doing the dishes, taking the clothes out of the washing machine. She said, “Mami, pa bisin to tro fatig toi , mo pou aide toi tout les temps”.  

Being the president of my area, I have always been a “femme du terrain”. Before GL I had less confidence in myself but I was always a strong woman. My confidence allowed me to help other women gain confidence in themselves and in whatever they do.  With the help of my other council members, we have been able to do a lot of things to help the people of my city, Mangalkan and Curepipe in general. We have been able to conduct workshops for street children giving them support as well as their parents. Many children have been re-habilitated.

During the electoral campaigns, many people were not happy with me being elected as councillor. But we cannot make everyone happy right? However, things seem to have gotten better with time. The best approach is The Smile.  

I intend to have a social centre erected for the youth of Mangalkan where they can meet their friends and socialise instead of roaming on the streets. I extended the request of having a fair for the dwellers of the city where they can sell their handmade products and crafts.  GL is doing an amazing job. The team is exceptional and full of zeal. I hope they continue the good work all throughout the island. Together we can!