Cristina had been thinking about volunteering for some time and decided to take the step shortly after losing her grandmother. “I told myself that, ‘now that I can no longer help my grandmother, I am going to help other older people,'” explains the young woman. “I searched on the Internet and on the website of the Community of Madrid I found the Great Friends Foundation. After registration, they followed a training, an interview “and a few weeks later they introduced me to Dolores.”
Dolores, for her part, doesn’t remember exactly where she first heard about Grandes Amigos, although she knows that “it had to be on the radio or television. I picked up the number, I called and they immediately sent Sara, who is heavenly: very educated and very prudent, something very important to me – although then I am somewhat of a hooligan. Little by little we started connecting and for me she is now one of the family.” says Dolores, a resident of the Madrid district of La Latina, who recently turned 92 and has an inexhaustible desire to do things. “I like to learn and be useful, when I’m not doing anything, I don’t feel good, it makes me feel more tired.”
Since the foundation contacted them, every Thursday afternoon -when the novel ends- Cristina and Dolores spend time together, they talk… “Above all I speak, she speaks what I let her,” Dolores points out. In addition, Cristina also lends a hand with the procedures, even though Dolores is good with new technologies, “I even pay for Bizum,” she emphasizes. “But a lot of help is needed because not everyone can do it. Young people can help older people a lot in that sense.”
Founded in 2003, Grandes Amigos is a state-level volunteer NGO dedicated to providing support (both in person and by telephone) to older people and other groups at risk or in a situation of loneliness. The foundation also has ‘digital kilometer 0 workshops’, an initiative created precisely to break the technological gap.
This foundation is one of the projects that benefit from citizens’ efforts to recycle, thanks to RECICLOS, the Return and Reward System (SDR) developed by Ecoembes. Present in all Autonomous Communities, users can obtain sustainable prizes and incentives for social causes by recycling their cans and plastic beverage bottles in the yellow containers.