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The volunteer of the year

The Federation of Christian Organizations for International Volunteer Service (FOCSIV) awarded a prize to Maria Luisa Cortinovis for her work with children in Ecuador. Thanks to the foundation of the Colegio San Gabriel in La Troncal, which she opened with her husband more than 40 years ago, Cortinovis oversees the scholastic and educational training of young people who come mainly from poor and needy families. “With her college she puts her stakes on the young through the integral formation of the person. Youth are the future of a people and also the hope of a more fraternal and more just society”, one reads in the reason that prompted the award of this prize. For Cortinovis, a 74-year-old who comes from Bergamo, instruction and training serve to “break with that dependence which makes us lower our heads. We must give those who don’t have any opportunities the possibility to look in people in the eye and make coherent and right decisions for themselves rather than having others decide for them”. The training project at Colegio San Gabriel consists of a primary and a technical school with various specializations in the field of crafts and industry. Annexed to the school are boarding premises and a production unit, whose aim is to procure financial resources for the school with the collaboration of teachers and students: a contribution to justice and social peace in a country that has not yet emerged from the logic of separation between the classes. “The recognition is not just for me”, she explained, “but for many: volunteers, people who work to build a better world, who live and give meaning to their life through solidarity, and above all for all the people who have remained in Ecuador. Our educational community consists of children, boys and girls, young people, teachers and parents who work together to create a different vision of the developing countries”.




St. Peter’s Square

Jan. 18, 2020