Inspiring women: Feza Kashema – a woman with heart
At a young age, Feza Kashema wanted to become a doctor so she could help people. Yet due to her disappointing results in maths – even despite her choice to repeat her studies in the hope of achieving higher marks – a career as a doctor slipped out of reach. Feza had to choose another profession, this being nursing, where her interest in others and her sense of dedication reflected her true personality.
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Caring for the spirit before the body
Once qualified, Feza chose to start her career in a psychiatric hospital – a sector that is often poorly perceived by nurses because the work is difficult and in an enclosed environment. Surrounded by patients suffering greatly, drug addicts, people with autism or hysteria, Feza wasn’t put off:
I loved my work a lot because it was often the mind that was ill and made the patients sick – but it’s the body which expresses the pain. We learn that everyone is different and even if their illnesses sometimes scare us, they teach us a lot about what it is to be a human being.
A future taking shape
For a moment, Feza was heading towards child psychiatry, then became an instructor in order to obtain a managerial status and passed from the public to private medical sector. However she didn’t like teaching, and so Feza developed a plan to become a hospital director – an Everest-like goal considering the numerous obstacles. Feza clung to her project, moving to head of department before returning to her studies at Paris-Créteil University to get her management licence. Faithful to her personal commitments, Feza Kashema finally chose the challenging Aged Care sector.
“When someone wants to do this job, you have to really try to get to know another person’s soul, not at a time when it’s most easy to find! I had already become accustomed to death, but I had never been among people at the end of their lives.”
Feza Kashema: working hands-on
Today, Feza Kashema is the director of a housing establishment for dependent persons. Despite this administration role, she continues to work in the field:
My colleagues reproach me for doing it, but I continue to bathe [the patients] because I take real pleasure in helping. I am not drawn to the technical side of the role; it’s creating a connection with the other person that I’m passionate about. I love talking to these people as equals. That’s the secret!
“And even if this form of getting to know each other is no longer possible for some, I can form a relationship through looks. Our eyes talk: sight and touch work in tandem. Holding a hand, supporting a person from under their arms or allowing them to be guided: this is one movement towards sparking the desire to progress, to walk or to simply move. This is just how I envisage my profession: strong human rapport and natural support.”
A future yet to be imagined
“I would love to invest myself in a sector that I don’t know much about, like disability. There is a need for many more staff, even if there is a certain reluctance to care for the disabled with limited mobility. I don’t know if I would help the situation, I also doubt my capacities and would be worried of doing something wrong. And then there’s the structures themselves that you have to think about. There are beautifully constructed rest homes with proper protocols or with the correct training plans, yet human relationships are not a priority.”
A necessary observation: we live in an ageing nation where more and more people require homes, which are scarcely available or too expensive (the ‘grey-haired dollar’ is quite profitable). The volunteer world is the last bastion protecting us before the great economic bulldozer comes along. Volunteering is the only sector that still retains a semblance of values.
Do you think volunteers and caregivers are under-valued? In what ways can we assist our seniors or disabled community? Join the discussion in the comments below.
Inspiring women: collaborative partnership with MidetPlus.fr
[This article was originally written in French by Author: Vicky Sommet]
Here at MyFrenchLife™ we have pleasure in announcing our partnership with French site MidetPlus.fr to produce this new series: ‘Inspiring women’. This article first appeared on MidetPlus.fr and we have translated it into English for your added pleasure.
Mid&Plus takes a decidedly positive view of women in the world and produces wonderful portraits of inspiring women. This collaboration enables you to read this series of inspiring life stories in French here and in English here on MyFrenchLife™ – MaVieFrançaise® magazine and also to visit midetplus.fr for further inspiration. We hope that you enjoy it.
Meet Marie-Hélène Cossé, founder of MidetPlus.fr
1-2 courtesy of Midetplus.fr
3 ‘Senior dance 3’, Jeffrey Smith, via Flickr
4 ‘Care’, Inspired Images/882 images via Pixabay
Translated by Artemis Sfendourakis.
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