Prison Fellowship Colombia Spotlight | by Dorestela Medina
Prison Fellowship Colombia (PFC) is a nonprofit organization founded in Colombia in 1980, and affiliated with Prison Fellowship International (PFI). At the global level, PFI has had United Nations (UN) special consultative status, participated in the UN Alliance of NGOs on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, and has led research, advocacy and promotion of Restorative Justice.
Prison Fellowship Colombia, like PFI affiliates throughout the world, is a vital member of Prison Fellowship International. With more than 40 years of experience in Colombia, our mission has been to work with people deprived of liberty, victims, perpetrators of the armed conflict, and their families.
A PFC volunteer is one who, in addition to his own professional work, in a continuous and responsible way dedicates part of his time to activities not in favor of himself, nor of the associates (unlike associations), but in favor of the others or collective social interests, according to a project that is not exhausted in the intervention itself (as opposed to charity), but tends to eradicate or modify the causes of social need or marginalization.
Prison Fellowship Colombia throughout its more than forty years of operation in Colombia has learned the importance of watching over and shepherding our volunteers, as we recognize the positive impact caused on our population deprived of liberty by the comprehensive work carried out by each one of them. We carry out this accompaniment through the following actions:
- We offer a process of training, monitoring and supervision of their work, under the responsibility of the prison coordinator where the volunteer works.
- The Volunteer will be directly involved with the work team and with the schedule of prison activities, as well as spaces for spiritual formation such as prayer and fellowship.
- The Volunteer is involved in continuous training times to improve their performance, personal development, and teamwork.
- Accompaniment in times of personal and family crisis. “Emotional or material” assistance.
- Weekly meetings ministering, planning, evaluation, problem solving and motivation.
- One retreat a year of companionship, recognition, and motivation.
- We watch over and supervise the good treatment of volunteers by the National Director and other authorities that are part of their process.
To be part of our volunteer team, our applicant must share their curriculum, which we then analyze to identify their profile and vocation. However, in this step, the most relevant thing is to identify their interest in serving people with dedication and passion. Once we determine this, we will know their judicial background and make sure that the applicant does not have any type of restriction to enter the prison. Finally, the applicant must begin the training process by completing the volunteer course and signing the voluntary agreement, after which they will be given tools, policies, and behavior guidelines that will be key to the success of their work.
For PFC Volunteers, there is no type of Distinction…
It is wonderful to see the great cultural, academic, and social diversity that is part of our volunteer team. We have ex-inmates, professionals, high school graduates, people deprived of liberty, merchants, rural population, members of indigenous populations. This diversity has taught us to value the capacities and abilities that God gives to each one with the sole purpose of fulfilling our missionary objective, learning tolerance, and the capacity to live as a multicultural community that works for a single objective “Expanding the Kingdom of God.”
The volunteer is synonymous with dedication, passion, and commitment. Today, PFC has witnessed the impact that the work of a single volunteer can have on the heart of a person, family, and society.
Volunteering at PFC is an example of faith, commitment, and trust.
To accompany, train, and save our most valuable human capital – our volunteers – must be a priority for all PFI members around the world.
Dorestela Medina is the Regional Director, who supports and oversees the national ministries in Latin America. She brings us 30 years´ experience working in government, embassies, the United Nations, and NGOs (Oxfam GB, Save The Children Sweden, Care International, and SICA).