INVOLVE: Vacation service in Mexico, a gift for everyone
“I get back more than I give.” The statement was heard time and again from the 16 volunteers that came to Mexico in August to help some thirty young people at risk of marginalisation during the first International Volunteering Vacation for Education (INVOLVE) programme in Mexico.
The same feeling was shared by the 15 volunteers from Iberdrola Mexico, who donated their time in collaboration with co-workers from Spain, the United States and the United Kingdom. Their goal was to help low-income youth from the Magdalena Contreras delegation, a marginalised borough of Mexico City, by teaching them computer skills, information technologies and new technologies.
Marian García told us her expectations had been more than exceeded and that she still could not believe how much she had learnt from her students. “They gave me more than I gave them,” this volunteer from the Spanish city of Valencia told us, brimming with joy.
Eilidh Campbell, a Scottish Power employee, brought with her the experience she had gained on her previous visit to Brazil, where the programme was begun, but she told us she was surprised by the Mexican students ability and desire to learn. She was also impacted by one of the students in particular, Diana, a young mother only 18 years of age, whose maturity and clarity of thought at such a young age taught Eilidh a great lesson.
“Beyond the educational aspect, the relationships that are formed between volunteers and students reinforce a large number of these students’ abilities, such as trust and self-esteem,” Begoña Barberá, Iberdrola’s head of Social Projects, explained.
Ivonne Estrada, one of Iberdrola Mexico’s volunteers, agreed that the programme had reinforced not only the students’ technological abilities, but also their level of confidence in their ability to achieve their goals.
Hugo Gutiérrez, a 26-year old Mexican man who had dropped out of school over a decade ago, said that he was taking advantage this second chance as much as he could and that the two weeks he spent with the volunteers had revived his dream of going to university to study graphic design.
During the two-week programme, Iberdrola’s volunteers not only shared computer skills with the Mexican young people, but they also had an experience they would remember for the rest of their lives.
The volunteers also did repair work at a nearby school and they have kept in touch with their students throughout the year to maintain their support and to continue motivating the students to pursue their studies.
The INVOLVE project is organised by Iberdrola’s Social Projects department, in collaboration with the Deporte Integra foundation. In Mexico, there has also been collaboration with FONABEC, a non-governmental organisation working in community education centres.