At Hang’Art, relearn how to live and eat together

At 37, married and mother of two…

At 37, married and mother of two, Élodie Sauvage-Férezin is Agenaise from A to Z, born in Saint-Esprit, attended Dangla college and Palissy high school (scientific school), she took sociology courses up to her thesis at the University of Toulouse . However, in long brackets, after high school, “the crisis of late adolescence, which made me want to see the world, a kind of initiation trip like Voltaire’s Candide, to get to know myself better and not just be what people expect of me.”

“I want to rule my life, to tell myself that my model is Jesus Christ”

It was this desire for emancipation that led him to undertake a two-year sojourn in England. “It was on this journey that I met God, in my own way, passionate and radical… I found myself in the values ​​of Protestantism, without an intermediary between believers and God. But whatever the religion, I do not support dogmas or superstitions, ”he warned. Could he become a priest? “If it’s in the main sense, accompanying others, that’s quite a bit of what I do at Hang’Art,” he smiles, defending himself against any proselytism.

Participatory democracy

Returning from across the Channel, she found herself pregnant with a daughter, whom she decided to keep, finding herself at the same time a single mother and a student, as she continued along the path of a sociology course, first by correspondence. , then in the Pink City amphitheater. “Even if you are surrounded by your family, these are difficult times, incredibly lonely. The professional licensee opened up an internship for her at the Agen city hall, where she worked on creating a ward council. For her master’s degree, she spent three years in charge of missions at the Agency on participatory democracy, writing (and marrying at the same time) a thesis on environmental democracy, “to think about how to bring citizens towards participatory democracy, to mobilize , for example on the LGV file , even if the State does not respond in kind. »

In 2010, he participated in the launch of the Stand’Up association, of which he is still president. An association that brings together Christians from all walks of life, to create events, for example around Christmas, and to federate various animations, “but not pasteurized, to share the Christian spirit outside of the church, the values ​​of peace and solidarity”, defines him . In 2014, the success of Stand-up pushed its members to go even further.

The idea of ​​an associative cafe was considered, but it turned out to be impossible to work with only volunteers. We therefore envisioned Hang’Art, a structure whose framework revolves around 14 employees, plus volunteers whose responsibilities are reduced. The head of trade, Christine Sénécal, offered to support Hang’Art’s restoration piece, which would allow it to cover staff and building expenses.

“There is a mix in the minds of some people: a solidarity restaurant is the same as a social canteen”

A restaurant that includes two large tables, where you chat with completely foreign neighbors five minutes before, where the prices are affordable (12 euros during the day, 16.50 € in the evening), where the food is harvested right there- here are sorted and rearranged into the chef’s chosen menu, Nadia (“It’s Top Chef every day”, jokes Élodie Sauvage-Férezin). A restaurant that fills up every lunch time, which should spread to Sainte-Livrade, Port-Sainte-Marie, then to Marmande and Nérac in the long term. A restaurant whose buses deliver food in certain villages, which has solidarity fridges, and still has to face detractors.

“There is a mix in the minds of some people: a solidarity restaurant equals a social canteen, argues Élodie Sauvage-Férezin. This is the first prejudice we fight. If the concept of cohabitation says that the poor are condemned to live with the poor, it shocks me. This is not how we go beyond particularism and communitarianism or how we bring about dialogue. »

And beyond the restaurant, Hang’Art welcomes within its walls a number of associations, whether they hold positions such as the Little Brothers of the Poor or Le Refuge (“which welcomes young homosexuals driven from their homes”), the Café philo which meets there every year. Monday, and the Stand’Up association is now permanently there to host 25 events or workshops each month. “And this is an all-day venue, where you can enter for free to have a glass of water and entertain yourself,” says the director. Above all, Hang’Art is a space for dialogue. »

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