Every year, on December 5, the International Volunteer Day is celebrated, a new opportunity to raise awareness about the contribution of those who offer their ability, time and love for the benefit of society.
Since 2004, in Argentina, there is the Law of Social Volunteering (N 28,855) to promote this activity and also regulate it. Currently, according to the Ministry of Social Development (through the Ministry of Accompaniment and Social Protection), the areas where this task is most carried out are education and health, in that order.
But, in addition, a study carried out by the sociologist Marita Carballo (president of VoicesResearch) on happiness concluded that helping others brings the feeling of carrying out valuable actions with a defined purpose. Volunteering is understood as an ad honorem job, for honor, however there is another definition and that is it is a task ad beatitudinem, for the joy, the joy.
These are some of the people who set out to transform realities and inspire us:
Ezequiel Rodriguez Padilla (36), from Huellas
It was 2007 and Ezequiel was a student of the industrial engineering career in La Plata. I already felt the need to serve. “Go to a dining room to spend time with the boys. Visit an institution for the elderly and share talks ”. That was the trigger for everything.
He had already done several volunteer work, but wanted to go for more. In this way he created Huellas, to leave a mark. For fourteen years, the La Plata entity has mobilized thousands of young people to donate two hours of their Saturdays to share an afternoon of laughter with children and the elderly.
A dose of enthusiasm is injected into each encounter. Ezequiel puts it into words: “one feels a happiness that goes beyond the momentary, that which remains in the soul for several days.”
With his NGO he has already impacted the lives of more than 6,000 people in seven different cities of the country. “We carry out an incessant search to connect volunteers with these generations of older people who need to be heard,” he explains to continue spreading.
To join: www.huellas.social
María Laura Fernández Duré, (51), from Sanofi
She has been a volunteer at Sanofi since 2019. For her, the role is clear: “I am involved with the needs of the institution, through the contribution of ideas to solve problems, putting empathy into practice”.
For Duré, it is not just a matter of accomplishing a task, but of being clear that his task has an impact on people’s quality of life. He could have chosen another cause to collaborate with, however, he believes in the mission of the NGO, which seeks to serve fuller and healthier lives. Sanofi aims to eradicate diarrhea in children under 5 years of age (the leading cause of death). “The consumption of non-potable water, in some places, generates serious digestive problems, which we intend to avoid by collaborating with the water filters that the Safe Water Project works with”, stands out.
“If we add to our work a commitment to the most vulnerable communities, the transformation is immediate,” he says.
Being a volunteer brings you constant gratification, he says: “There is a connection in the exchange with the other that is magical. It is about listening to people, understanding them, supporting them and above all learning from them ”.
To join: www.sanofi.org
Alejandra Martinez (41) from Microjusticia
Alejandra Martinez feels something similar. At 41, she is a lawyer and executive director of “Microjusticia Argentina”, a foundation that focuses on “To legally empower people in vulnerable situations, to guarantee them a real access to Justice”, He tells Infobae.
These are people who not only cannot afford a lawyer, but who do not even know their rights to know that they can turn to one. Alejandra also comes from a vulnerable context, she knows firsthand what it is to not be able to access a lawyer, and that is why she decided to study law and join the NGO.
“Microjustice drives social transformation since we work on legal empowerment, that is, knowing the law to be able to use it and transform it. As volunteer lawyers our mission is that the inhabitants of vulnerable neighborhoods have access to a quality defense with the same opportunities as those with purchasing power ”.
To join: www.microjusticiaarg.org
Alicia Irribaren (70), from FUCA
“It makes me happy to see positive responses reflected in tangible changes,” he says. Alicia Irribaren (70), retired teacher and part of the wide network of volunteers of the FUCA (Cancer Foundation). For more than twelve years, he has dedicated his time, energy, and contributions to supporting cancer reduction through early detection teaching, research, and education.
“I came to FUCA by chance, while my husband was battling a terminal illness, and since then I have never stopped. We must stop feeling that we are the navel of the world “, assumes. She is proud, committed, and understands responsibility for her contribution to the community. “It is important to make volunteers visible because the example predisposes others to want to join. The more of us, the better. There is so much to do”.
To join: fuca.org.ar/voluntarios/