French learners can sign up for video chats with lonely elderly people in France

French learners can sign up for video chats with lonely elderly people in France
A resident in a nursing home for elderly in France video chats with the help of a staff member. Illustration photo: AFP
A new initiative connects foreigners in France with isolated elderly people through video chat to decrease loneliness and help French learners boost their language skills.

The initiative is called Share Ami (Share Friend) and aims to “create intergenerational links by connecting students learning French and elderly living in France over video chat,” according to their website.

By mixing the English word 'share' and ami, the French word for 'friend', this initiative is a wordplay on 'sharing' and 'Dear friend' ('share' in English sounds like cher/chère (dear) in French).

Oldyssey, the organisation behind the initiative, is an international organisation that wants to raise awareness about elderly worldwide and make their voices heard.

Open to all French learners

While targeted at students, this language-learning scheme is open to other groups. Anyone learning French abroad may sign up for the scheme, including asylum seekers.

The video below shows the exchange between Saif, a 22-year-old from Afghanistan, and Andréé, a 91-year-old Parisian woman.

 

One person who signed up for the initiative praised it as “the most wholesome thing”, in a tweet that got retweeted nearly 3,000 times and liked over 323,000 times.

 

Oldyssey, which currently has a small French team consisting of six people including the two founders, responded to the tweet saying that it would take some time to respond to the surge in demands from eager French learners wanting to sign up following the tweet.

 

French learners and elderly people wanting to sign up can do that through this link. To learn more about the initiative, click here.

 

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