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April 22, 2024
Volunteering in two different missions:

Hermance's Social Fellowship: Caring of elderly and teaching migrant students in Madrid

Hello, my name is Hermance and I am a Consultant in the Paris office. Since joining the firm in September 2021, I have been mainly working on due diligence projects, notably in the Health & Consumer sphere.

I decided to apply for the Social Fellowship, which is financially supported by Roland Berger, last September. After two years as a consultant, I thought it would be a fantastic and unique opportunity to dedicate some time to a worthy cause, which would otherwise be difficult to fit into a consultant’s daily schedule.

My motivation came from the desire to be useful and to apply my energy to working with people, and to have, in addition to my intellectually challenging consulting job, a direct positive impact on society. I also wanted to take a step back and face up to real-life situations in the field.

I therefore decided to join Caritas, a large NGO operating in almost every country in the world to end poverty and promote social rights and inclusion. I offered my help to Caritas Madrid, to volunteer in two quite different missions: one in a retirement home (Fundación Santa Lucia) and the other at the local Caritas Campus, dedicated to young immigrants (mainly from Latin America) looking to strengthen their educational background and enhance their employability by receiving free training in specific courses.

My daily routine was divided into two parts: every morning, I would go to the retirement home to spend time with the elderly people, looking after them, chatting with them, and helping the staff organize the daily activities (arrow crosswords, mental arithmetic, board games, "gymnastics", etc.), until lunchtime.

In the afternoon, twice a week, I would provide coaching and tutoring to a class of students training to become care assistants in retirement homes. I was especially helping three of them who had more difficulties in understanding the lessons and regaining their self-confidence. Two of them were lonely mothers with young children, which made the goal of completing the course and obtaining the professional certificate even more critical. I am happy to say that in the end, their efforts paid off and the three of them successfully passed the course!

All in all, I learned a lot from this experience, working alongside people who are going through very difficult situations, such as the end of their life, or the misery of not knowing if they'll be able to make ends meet. This fellowship indeed enabled me to put things into perspective, and improved my patience, empathy and listening skills. I was surprised to discover that a retirement home is not such a sad place, and that it can be full of joy and tenderness.

And I believe that such experience makes you realize the immeasurable value of life, and the role, however modest, that you can play in helping to protect and defend it. One thing is certain: if I had to apply again, I would do it without the slightest doubt or hesitation.

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