My name is Emilio Valentini, I am from Rome and have been part of the Mani Tese group in my city for about twenty years.
I met the Association, like many of us volunteers, thanks to a summer camp, the one in Gorgonzola, when I was little more than a boy; from that moment on I participated with substantial continuity in various Mani Tese’s activities.
I consider volunteering not as a duty that every citizen should feel the obligation to carry out, but above all as a valuable activity that benefits primarily those who perform it. Volunteering is a real self-care, the possibility of giving more intensity and openness to daily life, making your own small contribution so that words such as justice and solidarity, always too abstract, take shape. You feel better and your self-esteem gains.
Returning to me, after that first summer camp, I chose to stay in Mani Tese because ours is an association with a “history” worthy of the name, with an ability to analyze the issues it deals with and an expertise in approaching them concretely, unanimously recognized. Furthermore, precisely because of the issues addressed and the tools it uses, Mani Tese offers its volunteers a very broad spectrum of knowledge to be acquired and experiences to be carried out, which allows them to keep together the understanding of the great international economic processes and the good local practices, the sphere of individual rights and environmental justice, the global perspective, with the local one. Mani Tese contributes to the transformation of the present world through development projects and bets on the future through the education of the new generations with courses in schools. You understand how all this is very educational and stimulating for a volunteer, so much that on more than one occasion I felt inadequate and I had to work hard to reduce at least a little my gaps.
Finally, volunteering with Mani Tese always means working together with other people, therefore making friends: it is superfluous to say how much this can be motivating for anyone. Some of the best people in my life, I got to know them thanks to Mani Tese.