Charter of the “Bergerie de Berdine” (the Berdine Sheep Pen)

nullCharter of the “Bergerie de Berdine” (the Berdine Sheep Pen)


This charter constitutes the Association’s project. It aims at enabling all residents to be informed of the Association’s caring terms, at defining the rights and duties of all persons desirous of joining the place but also at giving a framework for the actions conducted by the Association in favour of the persons in high need hosted at the facility. Each hosted person certifies having received by means of the welcome booklet and of the rules and regulations all the information required for the good proceedings of her/his stay within the Bergerie de Berdine.

Presentation of the Association

The “Bergerie de Berdine” (Berdine Sheep Pen) is an Association under the law from 1901 (ruling non profit organisations), founded in 1973, aiming at hosting without financial counterpart nor limitation of stay, persons in high need, particularly addicted persons (alcohol, toxic products, substitution ones) in the process of quitting, homeless, paperless persons… No prerequisite demand is necessary to be welcome, however integration in the structure is conditioned to adhering to the charter, accepting the rules and regulations and signing a moral commitment after a few days of presence.


1. Abstinence

The experience of the community’s dynamics lived for 40 plus years has proven to us that the rule of abstinence from alcohol, drugs, psychotropic and substitution products is a necessary prerequisite to a path of healing from addictive behaviour. Furthermore, the absence of limitation in the length of stay and geographical seclusion are additional supports in this daily fight.

2. Work

Since its origin, the Association has put work at the centre of the healing process, convinced by human ability to reconstruct itself whatever the hardships one has encountered. It thus puts at the hosted persons’ disposal a farm, a forestry activity and various arts and crafts. Each and everyone’s involvement in these activities ensures at the same time the structure’s economic operations and to discover an internal dynamics by feeling useful, responsible for an activity, a team and ultimately one’s own life. Recovering dignity by work is for us the means of rehabilitation par excellence. Regularity of hours, initiative taking, skills valorisation and transmission, rediscovery of the taste for making efforts are its tools.

3. Communitarian life

Communitarian life is the crucible within which the person rebuilds a reassuring social and affective relation enabling her/him to regain her/his balance. Benevolent and attentive vigilance towards other residents, the two daily meetings at the chapel, the rules and regulations to comply with, are the keys to a convivial, harmonious and structuring living together.
Rebuilding oneself is also gaining awareness of others vulnerability. The Association therefore proposes residents to accompany and support newcomers on the basis of a fostering, implemented by a team of volunteer coordinators, renewed each month.

4. A simple life, in nature

To live surrounded by nature, in a kind of simplicity and authenticity, away from the highways of consumption is a founding element of the Berdine spirit. Geographical seclusion facing the Luberon is therefore a deliberate choice. Indeed, immersion in this nourishing and regenerating nature rehabilitates sensations and progressively brings about inner peace. This imposes still today to fight against the exaggerated consumption of useless products, the waste and the environment’s integrity violation. In this dynamics, the Association favours activities in relation with nature and has obtained the “AB” Organic Agriculture label for the market gardening sector.

5. Times for meeting and rejuvenation

The presence of half an hour, morning and evening, of all residents in a symbolic meeting place (a round chapel) gives rhythm to the collective life. In the peaceful climate of this rejuvenation moment, each one can find a possibility to link to others, close by or far away, and to focus on what matters in a quest for meaning:

  • meaning, as orientation of life
  • meaning, as rediscovery of sensations where the experience of emotional, affective and spiritual fullness step by step puts a distance with addictive reflexes
  • meaning, as meaning of life

Residents are encouraged to animate these rejuvenation periods with a spontaneity fed by various supports: times of silence, reading the Gospels, wisdom and spirituality founding texts, music, singing, talks, educative or recreational videos… They contribute to shaping a civic and united conscience, giving to each an chance to express her/himself and are opportunities to think together, favouring consultation and dialogue.

The levers

1. Social, administrative and medical support

After a month of presence, tThe Association commits, in consultation with the resident, to offer support within the framework of a co-built social and personal project. It ensures the socio-administrative follow-up of residents and supports them in any administrative steps (welfare coverage, “RSA” – minimal social benefit, subsidies, access to rights…). The Association further commits to assisting and supporting any person in her/his quitting path and healing steps. For this, a volunteer doctor attached to the Association ensures the medical follow-up. When the rehabilitation project is ripe, it works in collaboration with various partners for the purpose of housing and job finding.

2. Access to training

All proposed activities, organic market gardening, farming, honey production, forestry and wood sale, dairy, bakery, pottery, woodwork, construction trades, give way to a training in these various trades that may be validated by a diploma (“VAE” – validation of acquired experience) or skill certificate. The Association favours access to trainings awarding diplomas or not in external organisms.

3. Access to culture and leisure

The answer to exclusion not being limitable to the satisfaction of elementary needs (housing, feeding, healthcare), the Association puts a specific attention to everyone’s access to culture and leisure. Thus, a theatre workshop is active all year long and gives way to a show each Summer during the “Estivales de Berdine” (Berdine’s Summer). Are otherwise offered a library, sports room, play ground, hiking, cultural or sports outing, and various workshops (for instance: writing workshop, relaxation/massages…)

All these activities stimulate residents’ creativity and expression abilities. They are also the engine behind the intensification of communitarian life, personal development and project accomplishment.

4. Solidarity

Rebuilding oneself is also going beyond oneself. It’s getting awareness of the other, be it close by or far away, and thus putting one’s own hardships in perspective. In order to mobilize its residents in such reconstructive dynamics, the Association

  • carries financially several social, medical or economic development projects abroad (Brazil, Congo, Haiti, Vietnam, Romania…)
  • supports united initiatives regarding numerous situations of injustice in the World (political, economic, social…)
  • participates in united events of the nearby region.

Regularly, information regarding these different projects are given out during meetings.

5. Partnership

The opening and renewing concerns have led the Association to perpetuate its ties and its common values of fighting against exclusions with the Association Ares (group of rehabilitation through economic activity founded in 1991) by means of a twinning made official on October 4, 2014. The presages of this collaboration already made it possible to carry out the construction of a house devoted to the most fragile persons (“la maison d’Aurélie” – Aurelie’s house), then the yearly co-organisation of a cultural event “les Estivales de Berdine” (Berdine’s Summer).

The Association is also in relation with the other hosting and solidarity places, the association « Voisins et Citoyens en Méditerranée» (neighbours and citizens in the Mediterranean), the “Banque Alimentaire de Vaucluse” (Food Bank of Vaucluse) and all the associative actors working in the field of rehabilitating persons in high social hardship. It benefits from the financial support, indispensable to its projects, of numerous foundations.

This charter elaborated under the impulse of the Association’s 40th anniversary is the fruit of thinking workshops conducted by residents themselves. It has been drafted in collaboration with the employees, the Association’s volunteers and the group Ares. Each stakeholder commits to abiding by this charter signed by the residents on October 4, 2014.