Photo Rob Desgroppes
Last week in France Claire SUFFRIN received the very high distinction of the insignia of Officer of the Legion of Honour, awarded by Jean-Marc AYRAULT Prime Minister.
Over forty years ago, Claire founded the R.E.Rs, the Receiprocal Exchange Networks of Knowledge.
Today there are networks throughout France run by volunteers who offer their knowledge and skills in exchange for knowledge and new skills from others. For example in my local town our exchange network has over 100 people offering to teach different skills ranging from bee keeping, upholstery to permaculture - even learning how to fly! The idea is that you offer a skill in exchange. No money changes hands. So while I go to French conversation classes free of charge in return I offer English conversation classes.
The sharing of skills, information and knowledge has been passed on in this way for hundreds of years. It's an informal but effective method of receiving advice on any number of subjects from child care, swopping recipes and growing vegetables- to name just a few!
Maybe something of this word of mouth methodology had got lost down the generations, with families moving away from each other and leading increasingly busy, hi-tech lives. The old traditions and ways of doing things were in danger of getting lost.
The exchange network opens up opportunities for everyone :-
- I've always wanted to.....well now you can... just ask and more than likely there will be someone who can teach you to play the guitar or make sausages....whatever your wish is
- Lean new skills
- Find a new hobby or passion
- Meet new friends
- Preserve culture and traditions
- and....save money!
So what knowledge could you share with someone today?