Ecuador - "It is worth leaving everything for the experience of volunteering": Xoán and Sonia

31 August 2018

(ANS - Cuenca) - Xoán Gonzáles is 52 and Sonia Agüera is 45 years old. Both stopped working in Valladolid, Spain, and went to Ecuador to volunteer. After collaborating for a month in the Salesian PACES Foundation in Cuenca, both are convinced that they are "worthwhile" experiences, and for which great sacrifices are made, such as asking for a sabbatical without salary or moving away from the family.

After completing the voluntary formation process organized by the Salesian NGO "Jóvenes y Desarrollo", they had the opportunity to collaborate in the Salesian Organizational Center "Feria Libre", through which assistance is provided to the workers and vulnerable children who are in the market of El Arenal. There they were able to learn about and experience the harsh reality that children and their families live.

"The experience helped me to look at reality from another perspective: I learned to live with intensity every moment and to value their ability not to lose a smile, even if they fall and get hurt," says Xoán, close to the Salesian world.

"This time has served me to understand that they have the right to live a dignified childhood ... and the teaching I take from the experience is that there are always solutions to problems," explains Sonia.

Since their arrival in the center, August 2, 2018, the two have become aware of all the love that children are able to give to those who come to help them in a disinterested way. For his part, Xoán has applied one of Don Bosco's great teachings: educating young people through the correct use of free time.

Everyone, from their professional fields, Xoán as Pedagogue and Sonia as Social Worker, contributed to the daily work carried out by the Salesian Foundation PACES, with a highly qualified professional team that assists the beneficiaries. They expressed their gratitude to Fr Juan Cárdenas, director of the Salesian community of Cuenca - Yanuncay, who from the first moment made them feel at home.

The first commitment they have made was to motivate other people, with their testimony, to carry out the experience of missionary voluntary service and set aside fear or doubts.



ANS - “Agenzia iNfo Salesiana” is a on-line almost daily publication, the communication agency of the Salesian Congregation enrolled in the Press Register of the Tibunal of Rome as n 153/2007.

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