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Poverty, discrimination, domestic violence... Figure of the solidarity of the South 77, Smina Kernoua recognizes herself in each of those she helps


Highlights: Smina Kernoua has just published a book in which she reveals her difficult life journey. She wanted to "do her part" in the face of the injustices of this world. In the wake of Pierre Rabhi, creator of the Colibris movement in 2007, Smina created the association of Colibries solidaires de Fontainebleau Avon and Sud 77. "Today I find myself in every situation of the people we help," says the 55-year-old woman.

Smina Kernoua has just published a book in which she reveals her difficult life journey, born in a modest environment, then as a couple

She wanted to "do her part" in the face of the injustices of this world and help people in great difficulty to feed themselves, shelter, leave an abusive spouse, etc. In the wake of Pierre Rabhi, creator of the Colibris movement in 2007, Smina Kernoua created the association of Colibris solidaires de Fontainebleau Avon and Sud 77 in the summer of 2022, federating a network of volunteers active for two years. She has just published a book* that allows us to understand her determination and strength in adversity.

"I had an inner pain that I couldn't express. Through writing, it was easier. It's lived experience," sighs this 55-year-old woman, mother of two adult boys, and even grandmother. "Today I find myself in every situation of the people we help," she summarizes.

Financial difficulties first. Smina was four years old when she left Kabylia with her mother, brother and three sisters, to join her father, a harki who settled in Avon in 1966. His loving family lives in the Fougères district. Smina arrives at the Terrasses kindergarten without speaking a word of French. "For me this was the beginning of the France. These are my best memories. I said my first words here. The mistresses were patient... She chose this place to present her book.

But in elementary school, she suffered humiliations related to the lack of means of her family, which then included five children. She is relegated to the hallway during music lessons because the family could not buy her a flute. Her swimming cap for the pool is shared with her sisters, her pencils used to the mine. "The teacher told me that mom buys me more with the money from family allowances."

Precariousness is still current in Les Terrasses (not classified as a priority education network) where the majority of children from 26 different nationalities do not speak French when they arrive in kindergarten and where the social position index (SPI) of families is only 71 while the national average in 2021-2022 was 103. Smina had new swimsuits purchased by volunteers and Avon's Bellevue School for the schoolchildren. "I suffered so much that we had a swimming cap for three with my sisters."

His only ray of sunshine was Jean-Pierre, his CM1 teacher. "He respected the students. His class was for me like an oasis in the desert. The start, the click, it's thanks to him. School is the foundation," she insists. Retired, Jean-Pierre remembers that Smina had "a lot of will to learn and succeed".

In her book, she also shares her experience of violence inflicted by her spouse. "He was French. This went on for several months. I said stop when my eldest son was twelve. I filed a complaint but he never had a conviction and came home. The kick he gave me to the head was one blow too many. I thought, next time, it will be him or me... I thought of my children and decided to go with them." The fruit of her experience allows her to support women victims of domestic violence.

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Overall, between food distributions, defense of tenants and arm wrestling with some social landlords, etc., his action is recognized on the ground, even though his association has neither local nor subsidies from the municipalities of Avon and Fontainebleau. "Before, the poor were hidden. Now they are no longer and defend themselves. She receives donations from individuals. "One lady made me a transfer of 1,000 euros, another of 500 euros. Supermarkets support us as in Nemours where we regularly collect at the exit. »

Avon, Les Terrasses kindergarten, May 23, 2023. For Jean-François Chalot, president of SOS Logement, member of the Colibris bellifontains and very invested in the fight to help people in difficulty, "with Smina, it's the next generation! "

Former president of the association Droit au logement (DAL) 77, founder of SOS Hébergement and committed secular activist, Jean-François Chalot measures the progress made by Smina. "For me, it's the next generation! We met on May 22, 2021 when a disabled man was sleeping in his car between Melun and Avon-Fontainebleau. I put the info on social networks and Smina contacted me. We paid him for nights at the hotel and then he went back to the provinces." Both are on the same page. They chain emergency relief to people in distress. She became head of a DAL branch in Avon-Fontainebleau. In July 2022, they created together Les Colibris solidaires de Fontainebleau-Avon and Sud 77, an association recognized by the prefecture. The next generation is assured!

* "Fighting misery and contempt" by Smina Kernoua, editions Le Scorpion brun, 11 euros. To buy it, contact her at or on

Source: leparis

All news articles on 2023-06-10

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