By giving their time and skill without expectation of material reward, volunteers themselves are uplifted by a singular sense of purpose.
– UN Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon
The Darjeeling Mary Ward Social Centre (DMWSC) is pleased to welcome Mary Ward International Australia (MWIA) volunteer, Francesca Torcasio Barberis. Francesca is currently assisting across a range of projects including the Ethical Enterprises Scheme which offers an alternative means of generating income for young women living on the tea estates of Darjeeling, India. This project also provides an escape from the exploitative tea-plucking labour rates and assists in combating human trafficking within the area.
The young women speak passionately about the project which has helped lift their confidence whilst providing vocational training skills to create marketable products out of jute and paper.
“I am so happy that I am part of Ethical Enterprises. It has helped me be independent. I am very happy”. Ethical Enterprises participant Verdana said.
MWIA works closely with our Loreto Sisters who live in many impoverished corners of the world to promote human rights and support sustainable development.
Volunteering with MWIA offers the opportunity for sharing our experience, talents and enthusiasm with others in very different contexts.
Both long and short term placements are available for self-funded volunteers. Placements vary based on the needs of current projects, the qualifications and interests of the volunteers and the requirements of MWIA.
Currently there are five MWIA volunteers travelling to Timor-Leste and India during November and December this year. Three volunteers are past students from Loreto Mandeville Hall Toorak and one is from Loreto Kirribilli.
During 2016 we have been fortunate to have Loreto Sisters in Australia providing support to the MWIA Volunteer Program.
The Selection and preparation process takes up to three months depending on the length of the placement. This allows for sharing of information and expectations. Before undertaking a placement all volunteers must attend preparation sessions with focus areas covering:
An introduction to MWIA and Loreto
Ignatian spirituality and reflection
Self-care and the ability to self-reflect
Motivations and expectations
Development and volunteerism
Practical matters – what to bring
Upon return, the volunteers meet again with the Sisters, Executive Officer and past volunteers for a debriefing session.
MWIA is extremely grateful for the support and wisdom of Anne Kelly ibvm, Sandra Perrett ibvm, Mercia Richards ibvm and Angela Slattery ibvm who have all generously supported the preparation for these immersion experiences.
To find out more about the MWIA Volunteer Program please contact: MWIA Executive Officer, Kim Nass Email: firstname.lastname@example.org