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Interview with Ferran Bolós, Christmas card contest winner of the "Iwith.org 2009 Postcard"


 Ferran Bolós, is our winner of the "Iwith.org 2009 Postcard" award. He is very familiar with Iwith.org and our initiatives from working with the NGO Vols, a beneficiary of ours, as their communications engineer. He is currently on leave of absence until August when he returns from living in Tanger (Morroco) for eight months. 



- Ferran, How did you hear about our contest?
Our institution has been a user of Iwith.org’s services for a couple of years now. Ever since we met and enlisted the help of Iwith.org, we also learned about the contest. This is the third year that I've submitted a design for the competition on behalf of VOLS.

- Tell us about your career, and your goal by participating in our initiative?
For the last two and half years I have been working as the first technician of VOLS communication in the history of our Association, developing the image of the corporate entity and performing various communication tasks, external (web content, billboards, fairs and exhibitions, etc..) and internal (quarterly newsletter, support of various delegations in communication, web microsites of them, etc..).

Previously I worked in a graphic design company and, above all, in different social education centers in Mataro, Barcelona and Sant Vicenç dels Horts.

I was trained (formally) in the audiovisual field, and (not formally) in education. In the latter, I have been the professor for courses on monitors and free time directors, for courses related to the educational approach, the nature of the environment (field trips), and taught communications in recreation centers.

Since I have been at VOLS, first as a volunteer and then as a coach, I discovered the situation of the world beyond our borders. That is why last year I did a postgraduate work in African studies.

Most importantly, our organization: to publicize the realities of injustice in our world in the North-South relations, especially in education: access to education, parity children, the reality of the boys/girls of the streets, etc..
Secondly, also significant, I set out to make known the name and the work that VOLS has done in various countries of Africa and Latin America.

- What did you hope to express with your design?
I enjoy reading and collecting quotes from books, internet ... It so happened that, while searching the internet, I found the quote that gives meaning to the postcard: "I wish we could put the Christmas spirit in jars and open one each month of the year." For me, it reflects the current reality of our society, which seems to be that we remember only the youngest, those who need us most and have the least (materially speaking) for those dates in which people open their hearts and make the effort of being supportive for one day (Christmas).

Hopefully that spirit, that good faith, were real every month and every day of the year, where together we can make the world a better place for everyone, especially for those who suffer most, generally, the children and the youth. Our association, after several proposals, opted for another Christmas greeting card, but I wanted to present this one to the contest, because I thought it was very significant for our work and the sense of solidarity and cooperation for development.

And it seems to have been well liked!

- What do you think about the initiatives of Iwith.org?
Personally, I have a special affinity with Iwith.org and their goals, because I believe that the scope of communication is an aspect to develop in most small and midsize organizations, and a very important aspect in our society of image, to present us in a current and attractive manner, just as simply and transparent.

In this respect, Iwith.org works to help achieve these aims and all its initiatives are incredible. The contest itself is a simple way to present many organizations and, in turn, each organization can express its message in an image or a simple phrase.

- Do you collaborate actively with the NGO VOLS, can you explain your role?
I started as a volunteer in the field of guidance and by training volunteers who perform an expedition to the southern countries during the summer months, and then because of my background, I was propositioned to start working on the communicative aspect of the organization. Later, I was similarly hired as a technician for the aspects of communication, awareness, and management of international volunteering.

VOLS is an ONG for development that works for children and young people from countries like the Ivory Coast, Benin, Togo, Guinea, Ethiopia, Burkina-Faso, Cameroun, Madagascar, Peru, Mexico and Paraguay for the last 17 years, especially in the formal education sector (schools, colleges, teacher training) and non-formal (leisure, homes for destitute students, centers for guys or girls in the street, libraries ...). In some cases it also works to bring light or water to communities in these countries, as well as the aspect of promotion of women and access to basic sanitation. In our country, VOLS is dedicated to the promotion and preparation of volunteers to be sent to these countries, and to realize activities and campaigns of education for development.

Personally, my experience in several national associations centers "esplai" (name given to the children's leisure clubs in Catalonia) in which I monitored, in addition to being responsible for one of them, and for two years, president of the Federation of Centers of Juvenils Don Bosco de Catalunya, which I have collaborated with (now impossible because of the distance ... until my return). I was also in the process of creating an entity that brought together different organizations and services in a district of Barcelona, of which I was the founding president.
Currently, I am living for eight months in Morocco in the city of Tangier, where I work exclusively for volunteering.

- What are you doing in Morocco? Are you dedicated to a voluntary service project?
Here I volunteer at a day center (Centro de Día) where boys and girls are outside of school hours (the school situation here is somewhat different from my home country, as there are many children in school and take turns), where they also eat and snack, take showers, do homework and take reinforcement classes, do workshops and recreational and sport activities, camps and the like.

They are also assisted with the dental and medical care. I collaborate with the Missionaries of Charity (of Mother Teresa of Calcuta) one day a week offering free showers and hot meals to kids on the street of the city, and currently with some activities or workshops for the association "Ningún niño sin techo” (No homeless children) that hosts a group of these boys who have lived on the street.


We wish you the best of luck with your project in Morocco!




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