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Ecuador - Volunteering in the family: "It's possible to help as a family"

05 September 2019

(ANS - Riobamba) - From the city of León, in Spain, Javier Fernández (46 years) and Diana Pérez (45) went to Riobamba together with their children Gerardo (12) and Míriam (9) to volunteer: they are a sign that there are no impediments when the desire to share one's life with others is greater than the difficulties that may arise.

The Fernández family has been in Ecuador for around 30 days, doing itinerant volunteering in different places. They put their gifts at the service of others: by holding meetings on trafficking in human beings, for example, or by helping in the preparation of food rations for people with scarce economic resources.

Their first experience was at the side of the "Damas Salesianas" of Riobamba, where they learned about and supported the work the latter do in a center for the elderly and in another center for teenagers with criminal records.

"It shocked me to find that there were 12-year-old boys, which is my son's age, held for crimes like murder or rape. This is why I say that the work that the 'Damas Salesianas' are doing to make these children recover their lives is admirable," Diana testified.

In the small villages of Morales and Curtincapac, this Spanish family has animated games and dynamics for children and young people, and Gerardo and Míriam have given their valid contribution: "In these places we have seen that the children are able to collaborate. They participated in the things we organized. We've seen that children can actively participate as little educators, and all this has helped us grow as a family."

The missionary vocation of this family is an option that has become a lifestyle. Javier and Diana have been collaborating with the Spanish Salesian NGO "Jóvenes y Desarrollo" for about 20 years, through various programs in favor of children and young people, as well as in awareness campaigns on volunteering.

Both agree that the wealth of volunteering is not so much in what one gives to others, but in the experiences and learnings that can be drawn from people with whom one shares moments of grace.

When they left Ecuador, they thanked the Salesian community of Riobamba who welcomed them and stressed that it was worthwhile to make this experience for the smiles obtained and for the affection received - things that can only be felt by being in direct contact with the people and that cannot really be understood by looking at them on television or even reading it in a report like this, because sometimes words are not enough.

"This experience helped us strengthen the belief that it is possible to help as a family," they conclude.

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