Maria Isabel de Allende, social leader since her youth, is TECHO’s Executive Director. Since she started her working career, she always enjoyed working with those who were involved in different communities in the agency Pro-Chile.
Despite this, she tells us she felt something was missing making her re-evaluate pushing her towards a change and analyze her actions, when her husband passed away. This allowed her to gather the proper team and TECHO was born. She says “working here is part of the conviction I have in assuming responsibilities with the less fortunate”.
The Executive Director visited TECHO’s offices, the newest. It was her first visit to an office of the organization outside of Chile. Only ten professional volunteers are leading this project and, meanwhile, they are close to building one thousand housing. “They have made great progress with little resources,” she tells us.
After this first encounter with Latin America’s reality, Maria Isabel made an appearance in Miami last May 9th. She was one of the presenters in the Latin American Regional Conference, Great Place to Work. There she spoke of the labor that has been done by TECHO in the 17 years of working together with communities.
The Executive Director considers that this is a virtuous organization by nature, being a place where communication, dialogue, reaching consensus is achieved strongly because of its vision and shared mission that exists.
Does working with volunteers builds towards a better work place?
-Yes, it translates to working in a place that is always facing challenges. These have a clear target, a communitarian mobility that uses creativity, that adapts to time, that is capable of facing the great difficulties in a positive way. One that balances theoretical knowledge with innovation, the work experience, all of this becomes a place extremely positive to work in.
What have you been able to discover from TECHO in the time you have worked there?
-I discovered the depth that TECHO has; it is an organization present in 19 countries in Latin America and, one of every four settlements in Chile. You people from various nationalities and cultures face a challenge with one mission: provoke social change. All of them are working in a same team in the search of a solution for the continent.
Maria Isabel’s experience with the volunteers has been enriching, since founding young passionate people, demanding, devoted and willing to make time to dedicate to the joint work with the settlers. “You can see signs of hope, the solution, in which this whole group believes in and commits to” she adds.
Overcoming poverty in Latin America opens the way to create opportunities and therefore grow, evolve and sustain one self. All of this is part of the volunteers’ commitment, as stated by Maria Isabel.