Our volunteer of the month, Nathalie AHUES, has been volunteering around the world since 2011 and she has been volunteering for Solibad since 2019 in Thailand.
Badminton player, plantar reflexology masseuse and volunteer in several charities including Solibad, she is part of the numerous people who allow us to carry out our actions. We asked her about her motivations and her experience.
Solibad: Hello Nathalie, thanks for accepting the invitation. Solibad chose you as the volunteer of the month of June. Could you introduce yourself in a few words for those who don't know you yet?
Nathalie: Hello, my name is Nathalie, I'm 34 years old and like many people, I discovered badminton at school. I rediscovered it in 2016, thanks to a friend who took me for a try-out and I immediately wanted to pursue it (despite a small accident during the session)! Outside of bad, I work at the airport and I’m passionate about travels, world cuisines and I have a keen interest in wellness, which led me to train in Thai foot reflexology in Thailand.
S: How did you hear about Solibad?
N: Ooh...I don’t exactly remember when I discovered Solibad, maybe in 2018, during one of my first tournaments. There was a Solibad booth and since humanitarianism is also part of my identity, I noticed the charity right away!
S: Can you tell us a little more about your experience as a volunteer (at Solibad and elsewhere) ?
N: I started volunteering in 2011, I went to South Africa where I took care of children in a slum. Before that, I had done two internships in an aviation NGO, called Aviation Sans Frontières, and I knew that I wanted to follow the humanitarian path. At Aviation Sans Frontières, I was both an employee and a volunteer, which was a great experience! I am also a translator for an association in charge of honoring the memory of the soldiers buried in the American Military Cemeteries in France. Finally, every year since 2017, I try to participate in the No Finish Line ( a race for charity) on behalf of the Chain of Hope. My volunteering for Solibad began in 2019, when I started offering Thai plantar reflexology sessions for the benefit of associations. I had done a trial where the benefits where given to the Chain of Hope in 2018, I was pleased with the result so I kept doing it, Solibad naturally became the main recipient of the collected donations.
S: Among the projects you developed and worked on with Solibad, which one is closest to your heart and why?
N: I haven't been able to develop many projects yet, but the one that is closest to my heart is developing the "Masseurs du Cœur ». I am, as far as I know, the only person offering Thai plantar reflexology sessions, for the benefit of Solibad on top of that. I am convinced that a network would bring more funds to Solibad because I can't work on all of the tournaments.
Apart from the humanitarian side, as a badminton player, I know how important well-being is in sport and I am always happy to bring a little moment of relaxation to the players, whether they play the next day or not. In addition, my training also allows me to deal with cramps, which has come in handy once or twice!
S: How can we help you relay information, give you visibility ...?
N: Maybe make small flyers presenting the different programs supported by Solibad, send me information that I can share on social medias. You can also, give me posters that I can stick up in the room where I do my sessions, to personalize the place but also to present my work.
S: What is your biggest dream / your ambitions for the years to come?
N: Dreams...I have a lot of them! With Solibad, I would love to go see the program in Indonesia (a country I would like to visit and and the home of some of the greatest bad players in the world). Regarding bad, I would like to meet Thom Gicquel and Delphine Delrue, whom I have cheered on a lot during the tournaments in Thailand and England (that's my fan side, lol),I also want to evolve both mentally and technically.
On a personal level, my only ambition is to be happy, fulfilled and comfortable in my own skin.
S: What advice would you give to someone who is hesitating about joining Solibad ?
N: If you want to feel useful while playing your favorite sport, don't hesitate to join Solibad, you have welcome ! And if you don't play badminton, you will discover an exceptional world of solidarity in the sports world. So don't hesitate to join!
- What are you most proud of?
Regarding badminton, I’m most proud of winning the small final in the mixed category at the Massane tournament (Argelès). Regarding Solibad, my proudest moment is when I collected 250 euros during the French Veterans Championship in Challans in 2019: a record!
- What's your best memory ?
My first mixed tournament in Villeparisis in 2018 (less than a year of bad up my sleeve ): very nice tournament and especially, very good partner (special shoutout to Alexandre Amara )!
- When was the time when you showed the most courage?
I think the moment when I showed the most courage was when I played a singles tournament again after a very bad experience. I was defeated once again but I overcame my disdain for singles!
- The moment that moved you the most with Solibad? / that impacted you the most?
So far, there’s not a moment that really moved me at Solibad ( but I know it’ll happen). However meeting with Raphael Sachetat after more than a year of talking via Facebook was a memorable day, a very good meeting.
- What's the best advice you've been given?
Your happiness shouldn’t depend on others and live your life without paying attention to what people think.
A huge thanks to Nathalie for this very interesting interview, see you soon back on the courts!