Valeria and Armin founded Voluntario Global in 2006 when they saw a window of opportunity for a mediating institution that would allow for a mutual exchange between the local communities of Buenos Aires and foreigners eager for a deeper insight into them. Initially we assisted in just one school support project, yet gradually other organizations contacted us and were added to our Network. Today we work with 16 different projects in Buenos Aires, and have founded two Cooperatives of our own: Su Lavanderia (2008) and Pacheco Community Center (2014).
As a large network of volunteers, institutions and organisations, we aim to generate awareness, knowledge and tolerance through cultural exchange and reflective analysis, enhancing our understanding of the tools required for the social transformation that we seek: ultimately, an economic, social and cultural system that isn't based on self-interest or predation but rather on ties of cooperation, friendship and acceptance. Sustainable development, ecologically, economically and socially, is what drives our values system and the way in which we work.
Volunteering with Voluntario Global
At Voluntario Global, we consider volunteering to be a two way process in which the exchange between the local area and the volunteer is cultural too. It is also important that we recruit open-minded volunteers with professional skills, abilities and experiences and place them in whichever project suits these talents most. Consequentially, their impact on the community in which they are working can be maximised. For example, those studying education in their home countries are likely to be teaching English whilst our recent Psychology volunteer position is tailored for those with an interest in that field. Below we have summarised the kind of volunteer positions that we offer, all of which work towards our vision of greater social mobility.
During 2016 we have seen an average of 13 foreigners each month come to Buenos Aires to volunteer with us. They have worked in various projects, from teaching English, to helping in a soup kitchen, to participating in our newly-added Radio Station Project, and got involved in organized activities with young people from the local areas. To add to the 15 organizations, we have been working with over the years, we are delighted to now be able to include our own project: the Pacheco Community Center.
Funding a New Community Project
Fundings are always used toward making improvement for the communties we work with. Towards the end of 2014, we took the decision to create and construct a new community space for ourselves and the organizations with which we work. The goal of this project, just like Voluntario Global’s other cooperative, Su Lavanderia, is to give the young people from the community the skills necessary to find a job and be able to sustain their families. At Pacheco Community Center, we work toward local development and try to reach sustainability in its three dimensions: environmental, social and economic. We believe that by creating more community experiences, we empower people, youth especially, so they can build their own future and have a better life.
The classes taught at Pacheco shows the students how to use the machinery they will use while working, and how to properly tend to a garden. With these proficiencies, it will be easier for the young people to a stable and consistent job. The Pacheco Community Center will also serve as a community center where people from the community can come together with the volunteers of different cultures and participate in an exchange. This exchange is important because that’s how the members of the community learn about foreign countries since many of them have not had the opportunity to travel because of a lack of means.
On December, like every year, Voluntario Global organizes an exchange meeting where all activities carried out throughout the year are evaluated and new ideas are projected for the coming year. This year the meeting was held at Pacheco Community Center. Where we were surrounded by trees, aromatic plants and vegetables; sitting on the lawn and taking in the sun.
The meeting started 10 am and each organization set out its most important objectives, its progress and difficulties in daily practice. In the afternoon, we held a big assembly and drank mate (of course!). We discussed our role as social organizations, our tasks within the community and the necessary relationship with the State to achieve our social goals. All in all, another yearly successful meeting thanks to the contribution of our always committed Network of Organizations.
Whilst our new project in Pacheco is emblematic of our contribution to sustainable development and the environment, in order to enforce sustainable development on a social and economic level it is necessary to begin at the heart of the communities who need it most; it is through their inclusive economic growth and the empowering of future generations that our vision will be realized. Indeed, it is our duty to fight for what we believe is the right way to live. If we want to change the status quo, the youth need to feel capable and worthy of pursuing further education and having the same access to job opportunities as those from more privileged neighborhoods. It is only once this fundamental of equality of opportunity is realized that humankind will be at peace and nature understood.
Where to find us
We are also on Instagram: @voluntarioglobal