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Meet Johanne de Champlain, retired clinical nurse and IRIS Mundial volunteer for over 16 years! In addition to her participation in 9 missions with IRIS Mundial, including two as volunteer manager, Johanne has been involved as president of the organization since June 2018. She always cares for a job well done and takes her responsibilities at heart by working in close collaboration with the general management. Volunteers will say of Johanne that she is a devoted and endearing person, who is always available to help when there is a need and who has this facility to share her passion and her good humor! Thank you, Johanne, for continuing to get involved after so many years!

Here is what Johanne wanted to share with us about her involvement with IRIS Mundial:

What motivated you to get involved in helping those most in need?

“It’s about my desire to help others. My husband once said of me: “Johanne, she gets up earlier in the morning so that she can help more people” … so it’s been an integral part of who I have been since I was a kid! I decided to become an IRIS Mundial volunteer because this organization has values ​​that I cherish such as sharing, listening and solidarity!”

What is your best memory of your involvement with IRIS Mundial?

“It’s definitely going on missions with people who were becoming my new family at the airport, who all had the same enthusiasm, and the same purpose for the time we were going to spend together. Also, it is everyone’s openness to others, to a different culture …

Concretely, one of my best memories will always be when it all started: when I received a call from Dr. Jean-Pierre Tchang inviting me to go on a mission with only a 3 days’ notice! This is called wanting to take up not only a great logistical challenge, but also to fall into the pot of altruism and kindness of IRIS Mundial. In the end, we can say that my involvement with IRIS Mundial brought me the certainty that I was really in the right place in terms of kindness and humanity!”

For you, what are the essential qualities to be an IRIS Mundial volunteer?

“Anyone with good intentions can volunteer and help a cause. There is, however, a certain human being and some important values ​​to have. At IRIS Mundial, here are the qualities that are essential to become a volunteer, in my opinion:

    • Listening
    • Be open-minded and respectful for a new culture.
    • Wanting to make a difference in the lives of those most in need.
    • Have the will to work in a team.
    • Be able to be flexible.
    • Be ready to help each other, to support each other.”

Can you tell us some significant moments during a mission?

“There are two that come to mind:

    • Having to manage human resources as a volunteer manager when I was offered this role for the 2016 mission in Haiti and in Senegal in 2018.
    • Adama, a 9-year-old child operated for congenital cataracts under the supervision of Dr. Houfar during our 2018 mission in Senegal. Following the surgery, they went for a walk outside the clinic and the boy saw for the first time the pirogues on the sea in the port of Saint-Louis. It was a moment of pure happiness!”

What mission do you think of first when you think of IRIS Mundial, and why?

“Every mission brought me a lot, but I think the first marked me more, in Huari, Peru in 2005. I was working with Dr. Lyne Paré and Dr. Benoit Côté. Sitting at a desk between them, I was doing the translation from French to Spanish and the patients were happy to see that they could be treated in their own language. Our listening reassured them a lot, which gave them the confidence to share their health problems with us. Our complicity was beautiful to see! ”

What is your role within the organization, as an IRIS Mundial volunteer?

“Being a nurse, I have often assisted doctors for general and complementary examinations, and I have also acted as a translator into Spanish, when necessary. Then over the course of the missions, I took on more responsibilities by becoming, among other things, responsible of the volunteers.

Since a couple years, I am involved in the organization as president of administration council. I’m working with an amazing team and I’m happy. This allows me to add a new string to my experimental bow. Now, I prefer to focus my energy on volunteering needs here in Quebec, because I want to allow someone else to have the chance to participate in missions, opportunity given to me by Dr. Jean-Pierre Tchang, many years ago. I also want to thank him for allowing me, through these missions, to become a better person!”