Interview with Christophe Lesuisse

Periodically, we introduce to you one of the people leading the work of our member organisations. Today we are heading to Luxembourg to speak with Christophe Lesuisse, Director General of Tricentenaire and Treasurer of our Network.

ARFIE: How would you describe your Organisation?

Christope : For more than 40 years, Tricentenaire has been providing people with disability with accommodation and day care services. This offer has expanded over time to Workshops for professional inclusion, an adapted travelling service, a chocolate bar, etc. We have also become what we call a “group” with five different and complementary entities (non-profit association, Limited Risk Company, 2 Public Limited Companies and a Cooperative Company). We have received several labels for quality, ecology, safety, accessibility, and Fairtrade Zone,… However, the distinction that makes us the proudest is the Milieu Novateur certification (2 phases – 2015 and 2019) from the Quebec Council for Accreditation, as insofar we are the first in Europe to get this certification.

Our key objective is  can be explained by presenting our vision and our values. Our vision: To improve the quality of life of users and their families. As for our values, under the umbrella of co-production, our activities are guided by the principles of self-determination, inter-responsibility, and respect for human dignity. We keep doing everything possible to involve stakeholders in the decisions affecting them, even if this does not happen overnight and requires a lot of patience and perseverance. Our motto is “Doing it better, together, intelligently, and happily”.

ARFIE: Why did you join ARFIE and how would you describe it to a stranger?

For us it is important to look elsewhere, to discover, and to confront good practices of national but also international partners. ARFIE appeared immediately as the right NGO to do so. Small means but with an unlimited desire to do well. Since the moment we joined the network, we have participated in, and even coordinated, several European projects (Leonardo, Gundvigt and now ERASMUS+) and we are currently engaged in two Erasmus KA2, one as coordinator.

I would describe ARFIE to a stranger as a wealth of information, a well-established network open to discussion and confrontation. An unpretentious NGO, we do not lobby there, but we are very active in research and projects. An association whose members are serious without taking themselves seriously. A bunch of friends in the long run, almost a family (in a good sense – which can go beyond friendships). Trying ARFIE means adopting it J

ARFIE: What about Luxembourg? How is disability perceived in your Country?   

In a small and quite country like ours, one might expect … a bit better … many things are done and we are supported by the Government in the development of our services, but some things do not change easily. Thus, this summer, an acquaintance whose daughter had just obtained a baccalaureate with honors, wished to enroll herself at the university of Luxembourg (not really by her own choice: she is in a wheelchair, and the local university was the only choice as personal assistance does not follow you abroad). However, after an interview with the administration her registration was refused, suggesting that it would have been good if she tried an internship beforehand (?), to take some time for reflection… Good! A few ministers and senior officials later, the university welcomed her … there you have it, an anecdote no doubt, except for the young girl and her family.

ARFIE: Who are your key partners?

Our key partners in the country are the associations of the sector and of the Social Economy in general. The two employer associations (FEDAS and COPAS) in which I have the chance to sit not only in the CA, but also in the Executive Board.

From a personal point of view, I have always wanted to expand our partnerships with “traditional” companies, which has led me to chair for two years  a local APM Club (Association pour le Progrès en Management – more than 8,000 managers in 400 clubs around the world), a group of Luxembourg employers from all sectors. Of course, this networks outside the social sector benefits our association as well. The motto of the APM is “the progress of the company through the progress of its leaders”.

ARFIE: What are the main challenges for Luxembourg today?

The major challenge for Luxembourg today is to implement the UN recommendations (UNCRPD), interpreting it in accordance with the national context.

ARFIE: To conclude tell us something about you?  Do you have any hobby?

My main hobbies are reading and cooking! I read a lot… a bit of everything. I have always been cooking and the recent confinement has allowed me to test new recipes with a lot of satisfaction. As a diabetic, I have even started baking sweets. My interests however are not only leisurely oriented. I devote several days a year to training executives. It is real pleasure and stimulates my curiosity to interact with students / interns here and in the greater Region. Furthermore, European E+ projects carried out within ARFIE, such as COMCADES (2008) and COMCADES 2 currently underway (COMpétences des Cadre de l’Economie Sociale), feed my thoughts and give me interesting ideas.  Finally, as several friends from ARFIE can confirm, I have a true passion for wine…and a very nice cellar  J

As for my free time I like, I have to admit that my working time and free time are quite mixed up. However, it is a choice that I gladly take and I am not complaining about it. Afterwards, evenings with family or friends are always refreshing moments.


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