24.06.2011Why be a social volunteer?

The climax of social volunteering is one of the symptoms of the transformation of some unjust models of life. The data of science, the experience of peoples and the growing intercultural dialogue are in place thanks to the development of the communications that allow us to witness the extintion of unjust development models. These models, along with the myth of unlimited progress, have arrived to an irreversible point of saturation because it has reached the top of its own contradiction.
To ignore it is to be unable to distinguish the signs of the times, and to remain silent is to become an accomplice. Something is not right when life becomes wait, many times without hope. The worst is when people do not act because they are scared of making a mistake or because they feel they are not capable of doing something for others.
For a long period of time, people that have known how to help others have been presented as extraordinary. They are beings like us that knew how to discover the radical poverty of every creature and they understood that the roots of authentic strength are in the acceptance of one’s own weakness. One day we will understand that we are overwhelmed by problems that ceased being problems in front of the disgrace that we discover when we look out to see the threshold of exclusion. One is left astounded for having spent so many years right next to pain and next to the solitude of those who were there, “around the corner.”
The drop that is conscious of being part of the ocean has a radically different attitude to those of people who are manipulated by consumerism, insecurity and fear. One must not go mad looking for extraordinary occasions to do great things that might not ever take place.
Limits of age, sex, or of social condition do not exist to practice solidarity. What matters is to go out and feel passion for justice.
Shelters for the elderly, for the children or for the disabled, hospitals, mental hospitals, diners for the homeless… the list of possibilities is immense. It is all about becoming commited and then we find out it is easier that we thought it would be. It is never late to start because we will always be on time, today. Two hours each week to help others are always available. Thus we will be loyal to that date with the best we have to offer: the one who needs us and holds the hand that we stretch out, which is open and fragile, but generous too.

José Carlos García Fajardo
Professor of Contemporary Social and Political Thought. CCS Director
fajardoccs@solidarios.org.es