Focus 2003

VIS - IRO15-07-2003

VIS (Volontariato Internazionale per lo Sviluppo) - creating a world of possibilities

Project: VIS - (Volontariato Internazionale per lo Sviluppo) International Voluntariate for Development.
Date of foundation: 1986
Place: Rome
Province: ICC

Brief history
VIS is an autonomous lay organization existing alongside the traditional commitment of all those inspired by the charism of Don Bosco in cooperating with poor nations.  As an NGO it legally came into existence in 1986 and was recognized in its own right by the Italian Ministry for External Affairs  in 1987.  But the reality of a volunteer network as a real presence of lay people working beside Salesians on the frontiers of development for those who are poorest was already in place for many years.  In an ordinary way VIS promotes development programs that look to the active presence of volunteers as a fundamental element.

To allow people, particularly the young, to be proactive in their own growth and aware of the potential and capabilities of the VIS mission, which is inspired by the educative message of Don Bosco both in educating to a global perspective and in cooperating with poor nations.

The workers:
VIS is a Christian-inspired organization.  It Italy it is managed by professionally qualified personnel, while projects in poor nations are carried out by specially selected volunteers, formed and sent for two years of service.  In the last ten years, 158 people have offered their voluntary service in projects in cooperation with VIS.  At present there are 30 volunteers in active service.

The activities:
VIS presents itself as an educational agency with offerings in many areas.  It gives preference to projects and initiatives which are educational and formative in nature, offering equal opportunity to the young, regarding each culture as of value and enabling each person to be a worker for justice and peace.

Education to a global perspective – consciousness-raising and information:
In Italy, VIS promotes dialogue between cultures, and encourages schools to educate to a global perspective.  It offers various ways of formation to international cooperation.  In particular the website shares the experiences of VIS volunteers and keeps the acitivities of the organization in close contact.  It enables users to be part of courses specializing in cooperation for development in the on-line ‘Formation Centre for Development”.  Raising consciousness about difficult situations in the world is a fundamental role of VIS, as well as awareness of various information campaigns, of meetings, seminars, conferences, fields of study/work, production of informative and instructive materials both on-line and in hard copy.

Projects abroad:
VIS carries out projects in collaboration with Salesians working in schools and centres for professional formation in 130 Countries.  VIS is interested in working with streetkids, basic education, professional and ‘worker’ formation, promoting the role of women.  Its projects and volunteers can be found in the following countries: Angola, Burundi, Cameroon, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Guinea Conakry, Kenya, Madagascar, Mali, Nigeria, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, Argentina, Bolivia, Brasil, Ecuador, Dominican Republic, Uruguay, Albania, Kosovo, Lebanon, Palestine, Cambodia, China, Indonesia, East Timor, Vietnam.

VIS campaigns:
Fundraising campaigns, as well as sensitizing public opinion, allow for prompt intervention in emergencies and the needed structural changes to overcome such.

“Taste and Solidarity” - a project born of collaboration with the Gambero Rosso Guide and the Espresso Guide who have committed themselves, via 276 restaurants spread throughout Italy, to contribute financially to the construction of the School for Professional Formation in Pristina, Kosovo.  This initiative is of a year’s duration.  Every first Saturday of the month, the restaurants give a percentage of their day’s takings.

“Food for Ethiopia” - a campaign with its origins in an appeal launched by VIS and the Salesians of Don Bosco to meet the serious emergency resulting from drought.  The first funds collected, around 950,000 Euro, enabled outreach to more than 30,000 people in many Ethiopian villages.  The campaign aims to construct wells to avoid future water shortage problems.

“Bread for Bethlehem” - The Salesian Technical School in Bethlehem has already for decades offered its courses free to the poor youngsters of the region. This has been made possible thanks to the prcoeeds from a famous Bakery that has been in business for the past 100 years.  The worsening political situation has seen the Salesians distributing free bread, thus depriving the school of its financial support.  Our campaign seeks funds both to guarantee the activities of professional formation and allowing them to continue distributing bread freely as a sign of solidarity and peace within the local population.

Other locations:  Turin, Milan, Verona, Venice-Mestre, Genova, Ancona, Naples, Catania,Cagliari

National president:  Dr. Antonio Raimondi

VIS projects can be maintained with donations sent in the following ways:
c/c postale n.88182001
c/c n. 520000 the Banca Popolare Etica CAB 03200 ABI 05018.

Address: Via Appia Antica 126
00179 ROME
Tel: 06/513.02.53
Fax: 513.02.76
Web site: