Sofie Labadie helps Caritas Uruguay with fundraising and volunteers in her spare time.

Credits: Caritas

Sofie Labadie helps Caritas Uruguay with fundraising and volunteers in her spare time.

I’m just finishing my thesis in psychology and I work with children with learning difficulties. I’m also about to get married! These things help me in my personal and professional growth, but the development of my heart is in the hands of Caritas.

I started working with Caritas Uruguay at the beginning of 2009. Every year, they invite people who are interested in working with them to come along and talk to them. When I went to the meeting they talked about their work and their organisation and something inside me told me that I should work with them.

In the beginning, I went along and did anything they needed me to do. But as the training progressed, I started to focus on volunteers and donations. These two things are so important to Caritas Uruguay, and without them they couldn’t carry out their mission to support the poor and vulnerable.

A typical day starts with me answering the emails of people who have offered donations. People want to send us all sorts of things such as clothes, furniture and things they no longer use. Caritas Uruguay doesn’t just rely on personal donations, but also encourages businesses to engage in social responsibility.

We coordinate the donations coming in and match them up with the people who most need them. We help all sorts of people in various ways. We give people in prison advice and support and help them get back into society once they’re released. We help women who are victims of violence. We help drug addicts beat their dependency. We do many more things too.

In my job it’s important that I answer people who either need help or who want to donate quickly. We try to be as positive as possible and convey how grateful we are. We are very friendly and offer a personal service to people. We want them to have full confidence in what we provide and consider us as a good example of social commitment and Christian values.

We are working hard to build up our team of volunteers. Those who offer their time to us do lots of different things. They may give legal or financial advice to people in difficulty, or they may support schools or help out various disadvantaged groups in poor neighbourhoods.

Even though Caritas is known on an international and national level, we’ve discovered that the young know the least about us. We’re working to change this so they will be interested in our work and may decide to join us.

What I love about Caritas is the warmth and friendliness in our office. People are happy, despite the difficulties we sometimes face, and the smallest achievement is a cause for celebration. There’s a real sense of openness, joy, dedication, strength and resilience.