Jean-Pierre Caillon

Independent Research Collaborator (France)

Jean-Pierre Caillon is a member of the Bertrais family, featured in Growing up Hmong at the Crossroads, and nephew of the R.P. Yves Bertrais, who lived more than 50 years with the Hmong people. Since the 1960s, the Bertrais family (7 children), like many other French families, welcomed the Hmong to study at Prinquiau in the Loire-Atlantic region (western coast of France). Once again in 1976, the Hmong fled the war in Laos and the young Hmong are welcomed in France. France would welcome more than 200,000 refugees, giving them the choice of naturalization.

It is in 1979 that Jean-Pierre Caillon, after pursuing studies in agriculture, left to join his uncle in French Guyana to participate in the creation of a second Hmong village: Javouhey, with 60 families, 500 people, and one challenge: help the village become agriculturally independent and self-sustaining in six months.

Jean-Pierre Caillon is currently the director of a social enterprise (wise) in France. He is also a member of the R.P. Bertrais Research Foundation, presided over by Xia Vue Yang in the United States. It supports young university students and researchers who study the Hmong culture.

Participating in the filming of this project has been both a pride and a joy, says Jean-Pierre Caillon, “that of again finding Maipa and her family, whom he haven’t seen in 40 years. This also allowed us to remember a time when our families gave us the chance to open ourselves up to other people and cultures, and thus shape the trajectory of my life”.

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