The Asociación de Voluntarios Operación Mato Grosso Ecuatoriana is a non-profit association made up of Italian and Ecuadorian volunteers whose purpose is to help the most in need, without any charge.
It carries out its activities in the rural communities of S. Lorenzo, S. Mateo and Puerto Cayo in the province of Manabí; Pujilí, Zumbahua, Quindisilli, Tigua, Guangaje, Angamarca, Shuyo, Chugchilan, Chinalò, Isinlivì in the province of Cotopaxi; Cuatro Esquinas and Atandahua in the province of Bolívar; Tenta, Celen, Selvalegre, Savadel in the province of Loja, Guanazan in the province of El Oro and in the city of Quito.
The main activities can be summed up in four categories: social activities (construction or restoration of houses for the elderly, assistance to the elderly, cleaning and personal grooming); healthcare aid (administration of a hospital, assistance to the chronically ill, support to indigent people, assistance to people with disabilities); catechesis (oratory and groups in which young people are taught about generosity and charity); educational services (educational training program in carpentry, carving and sculpture, tailoring, artistic stained glass and ceramics); Centro Artístico Don Bosco (furniture and sacred art manufacturing, embroidery).
Every summer young volunteers come from Italy to help in the work and to share experiences. On their return to Italy they encourage other people to get involved in volunteer work, organizing works and activities to raise funds.
All volunteers offer their support without any kind of income.
Centro Artistico Don Bosco
This website features the artworks made by young Ecuadorian carpenters and sculptors of the Centro Artístico Don Bosco.
Since 1988, 11 schools have been opened in Ecuador. The students that get in come from the most in need families, and they are hosted for six years in the parish house for free. During these years they live with a family of volunteers and with assistants who take care of their professional, artistic and religious education, with a special attention to the love for their local territory.
At the end of the educational program, these students are graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Carpentry, Carving and Sculpture.
As a natural consequence of the growth of these schools, the Centro Artístico Don Bosco came to life, with the aim of producing furniture and sculptures in the Andean communities.
The Centro Artístico Don Bosco is made up of young people who live in the highlands and who, at the end of high school, have decided to embrace the teachings of Father Hugo who gave special attention to the importance of being generous and selfless.
Each piece of work is developed by an artist who carries it out from the project to the final result.
In each work you can appreciate a unique craftwork, made with patience and meticulousness, where the traditions of an ancient culture meet a research of modern lines thus created in our schools.
From a letter by Father Hugo
You have in front of your eyes some artworks resulting from the work of young Ecuadorians from the Centro Artistico Don Bosco and Italian volunteers from the Operación Mato Grosso.
Thanks to this work and the efforts of the volunteers, the local artisans can live in the highlands close to their families, their elders and their fellow poor people, without migrating to the city.
The profit from the sales all goes back to the authors and the most disadvantaged.
..the journey of these artworks is all against the tide. As we are all called to go against the tide. Don’t forget that God works against the tide, and he does not do things by the ordinary man’s measure: interest, calculation, money…but that he is abundant, patient and generous.
These pieces are able to speak about God because they are made by his dearest children: the poor ones. Because they are made using God’s art: patience and time. Because they have something completely free inside of them: God is free, he is not bought with intelligence, nor is he paid for his gifts.
… so our ambitious dream is that these pieces bring to your house the hope of God, we mean the hope on the most beatiful thing to dream: someone that understands without limits, forgives, heals and saves.
Help us to make our work known and to improve us!!
From a letter by Father Hugo de Censi, Parish Priest of Chacas