From 15 to 17 March, Idente Voluntariate held in La Cabrera (Madrid), in the convent of San Antonio (12th century) run by Idente missionaries, a new edition of the international volunteer course for young people and adults who want to collaborate with Idente missions in South America, Asia and Africa. On this occasion, the participants in the course came from both Spain and Italy, coming from various professional backgrounds: medicine, dentistry, education, economics and engineering.
Saturday began with a presentation of projects in India, specifically one on the integral formation of young women and another in a children’s school. It was followed by the Bolivian East (Santa Cruz de la Sierra, San Ignacio and San Miguelito) where we had the experiences of Sonia. She is a volunteer from Madrid who spent four months collaborating in school support of five large schools, in activities of workshops, of spiritual formation, and who, summarizing her experience, said: “I have come back with a greater heart”.
From Bolivia we “flew” to Iquitos, capital of the Peruvian Amazon jungle, where since last year a “Humanization of Medicine” project is being carried out, led by Dr. Susana Geretcher, from the European University of Madrid. Dr. Geretcher seeks that her students, in agreement with the Quirón Foundation, complete their medical training through experience in the idente mission of Iquitos, developing health education programs, not only in the urban area, but also in the hamlets that extend along the great rivers of the area, tributaries of the Amazon.
On behalf of Idente Volunteers, Mª Carmen Orts, an idente missionary and doctor, presented her experience with 29 years of work in Iquitos and other places in the Peruvian Amazon rainforest such as San Pablo de Loreto, where she cared especially for people suffering from leprosy. At the hospital in Iquitos, as a pediatrician, she developed an oral rehydration unit to avoid the high infant mortality rate.
Two of the medical students from the European University of Madrid who participated last year, Lucía and Ivonne, told with emotion their personal experiences and the magnificent teamwork they had been able to do. They showed a video that synthesizes their health education work with children and adults through workshops on oral hygiene or hand washing, basic but crucial things to prevent certain diseases.
The day ended with the presentation of the Cameroon mission, with the project of work with children and university young people in Yaoundé and Soa.
All this was interspersed with practical and experiential aspects of the volunteers. At the same time, we reflected with the young people on the conditions that a volunteer should have, the attitudes and aptitudes, and the pedagogical model that we develop, whose model is Jesus Christ, especially in his way of approaching and treating people.
Idente volunteering seeks to respond to the needs of idente missions in areas with vulnerable population, that require attention to their basic needs, such as health and education, or with children and young people who have many affective and socio-educational deficiencies, due to the depressed environments from which they come.
Idente Volunteering, as part of Idente Youth, encourages volunteers to give the best of themselves. Starting from what our Founder, Fernando Rielo, taught us: “no human being can be denied the right to do a good he judges himself to possess”, idente volunteering is open to young Catholics or those of other religions and also to non-believers, with the condition of respectful honesty.
The conclusion is always the same: 100% of the volunteers claim to receive much more than what they give.