• Stylezza, official photograph for Ladies Vintage Cars Rallye

Stylezza, official photograph for Ladies Vintage Cars Rallye

Martine Ackermann, the heart of Child Care Monaco

editorial & arteditorial

23 December 2019

Moving to and fro one land to another, from riches to poorest, from material to immaterial, from one world to another, both on the same planet, may seem unbelievable for some. Not for Martine Ackermann who wants to bring more balance to a world that is totally opposite from that where she loves. From Monaco to India, there are some kilometers to take, but a few steps to achieve. This is what the kind Martine Ackermann wants to do through her Association, Child Care Monaco. Feel free to read the interview below. 

Martine, you are the heart of the Child CARE Monaco Association! What are the origins and the goal of this association?

Following a family trip around the world in 2011, we decided to have a humanitarian approach in our trip, so we decided to go to India to help educate disadvantaged children on the streets of Jaïpur.

Two big events that you organize: Ladies Rally Vintage Cars and the Christmas Gala - what are the behind the scenes and anecdotes of these events?

The Backstage ... for the Ladies Rally I try to find a different theme each year and an original outfit that matches the theme. For example, this year as we were celebrating Princess Grace's birthday, the theme was that of floral dresses because the first time Grace Kelly visited Prince Rainier she wore a beautiful floral dress. The clothing theme for the rally reinforces the glamor side because the Ladies play the games. Then I think about a different route every year, too. It is a large organization which I have already started to think about since my return from India. The hardest part is finding vintage cars. Behind the scenes !! Every year I tear my hair out with last minute cancellations !! Otherwise some funny things ... each year the roadbook is well explained with photos and text ... but there are those who cheat to arrive before everyone and get lost (smile). On the other hand the ladies really play the games and get really involved in our education projects. They question me a lot and some want to come to India with us.

Schools in India for girls, investments in educational projects? Why India?

I visited India 25 years ago and I was very shocked by what I saw. It has haunted me for years. I give a lot o India but also India gives me a lot. It is an exchange, an inner journey, a philosophy, a wisdom. I learned a lot about the meaning of life, about the essentials, about myself, about others.

Tell us more about your charity trips to India ...

It's never easy, you might think, to juggle between Monaco and India. The material and the immaterial, the rational and the irrational. I organize myself mentally! It is not easy to take a plane to leave your family, your house, your comfort and find yourself in the same world but another world, in fact. I have trouble explaine it. Suddenly there is nothing left, I see very unhappy children living outside, who are mutilated because they beg and it's more difficult when you have a missing leg or a sunken eye, I see children who work very hard and at times risking their lives, I see children who have been robbed of their families and who find themselves being slaves for rich manual exploiters in their fields for example, I see little girls without other choice that prostitution, I see children in prisons by what they stole to eat, I see married children, I see .... I see many things that break my heart. I have understood over the years that building schools and providing them with free education can change their future and improve their lives.

Will there be other projects in the future?

Yes, in the south of Calcutta in the poorest region of India named Odisha. I visited them last November and I immediately understood that following the hurricane they just suffered, there is an urgent need to build a two-class structure.

How can people participate in fundraising for the association?

Donors are welcome to sponsor our projects. For example by sending a donation for our library bus in Jaïpur, or for example to support our new project in Odisha in the fishing village of Gopalpur on sea. We also have traveling costs at our school in Chitorgarh. We also offer child sponsorships to send them to school, provide them with meals and school attire. Let us not forget that sponsored children are never safe from forced marriage, from moving with their family if the latter lose their job and have to change cities, from a school interruption due to a problem. Family ... because of course we operate with the agreement of families but there is never any question of changing traditions. Our land is the untouchable caste, that is to say the category of the poorest people in India, in the villages people are "tribal" and live with their tradition which must be respected. It is already a big step to have succeeded in convincing them to send their children to school and we have thus considerably reduce the number of child marriage in the village ... step by step Education will change the mode life without changing their identity.

Donations by bank transfer or check 

Child Care Monaco 

41 Avenue de l'Annonciade

98000, Monaco

Contact email: childcare@monaco.mc

Website: www.childcaremonaco.mc