“Offering our lives to promote life” – XXV Anniversary of VIDES International

Young people gathering from all over
the world under the flags of 34 countries, the sharing of concrete experiences
in the field, and the joy to be together to discover again and re-read through
today reality the mission of VIDES. These were the ingredients for the success
of the  X International Conference of
VIDES (International Volunteerism Organization for Women, Education and
Development) under the title
“Recall, Rejoice, Renew”, which took place from November 1st to 4th,
in Trevi (Italy).  Almost 200 hundreds VIDES
volunteers and Salesian Sisters met to share their work on the ground, as well
as to renew their   commitment with the society through the Salesian Charisma and
the youth leadership. 

The conference was also the occasion
to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the organization and welcome 6
new VIDES groups recently established, namely in: Switzerland, Peru, Congo,
Venezuela, Colombia and Haiti.

Last but not least, the
participation of the Salesian Rector Major and the General Mother of the
Salesian Sisters made the conference a unique experience for all the
The team of IIMA Human Rights Office
participated in the four-days meeting offering interpretation service and
substantial contributions. In fact, Sr. MariaGrazia Caputo (Fonder of VIDES
International and currently Chief of IIMA Human Rights Office) and Maria D’Onofrio
(member of IIMA Human Rights Office’s team in Geneva) participated as speakers
in the panel discussion.

In her speech titled “Let’s Look
Back to Cheer Up on the Way to the Future”, Sr. MariaGrazia made reference to
the history of VIDES: starting from mother Marinella’s request to start a
volunteer group, going through the international vocation of VIDES since its
establishment, and ending with the recognition of the great work carried out by
Sr. Leonor Salazar (General Director of VIDES International) who has been able
to take this legacy and lead VIDES towards new borders. She also highlighted
the main role played by the young volunteers who -after experiencing  voluntary service- find themselves extremely
motivated to return “the trust which was reposed in them in a total
commitment of their being”.

In conclusion, a Declaration of
Commitment, drafted by the working groups during the conference, was unanimously
adopted on November 4, 2012. This document and the Conference as a whole left
in the participants the right motivation to continue, through VIDES,   to
offer “a little of our lives to promote life.”