The Group of Volunteers of Italian Switzerland (GVSI) was born in May
1975, with the prompt intervention in the Italian region of Friuli Venezia
Giulia, seriously stroke by a terrible earthquake. GVSI worked on the
territory of Friuli with a factory for the distribution of water and cooperated
with the Italian army and the volunteers on site. The friendship and cooperation
with volunteers and local inhabitants prolonged the presence of GSVI until
Meantime, the Volunteers Group of Italian Switzerland opened another front
of operations in Irpinia, also stroke by a serious earthquake. This intervention,
which took place in a shorter period of time, compared with the one in
Friuli, turned out to be full of adventure and deep experiences.
In 1978, the Canton of Ticino was stroke by a violent flood, with part
of the Alpine region shattered. The Group, thanks to the experience acquired
during previous humanitarian initiatives abroad, took steps promptly to
carry out a series of interventions all the more targeted and in-depth,
also with working fields, sensitive with respect to culture and traditions
and local history. The work activity resulted into public works of great
importance, such as the building of three bridges for the crossing of
cattle and persons on mountain grazing, and the reconstruction of the
chapel of Partus, which was achieved in cooperation with the Schindler
factory and other Swiss humanitarian associations.
The internationality of the Group was clear since its first days of life.
The frequent contacts with foreign countries also led to the creation
of an international sector associated to UNESCO and to the U.N. international
The experience of the group was transferred to the social field, organising
initiatives aiming at the education of young children. Camps, summer camping,
extemporary for the young, sport fields, activities of reconstructions,
offers of care for handicapped and elderly people, animation and neighbourhood
centres, here are just a few initiatives among those produced during the
past years by GSVI.
The Group of Volunteers of Italian Switzerland is active in person to
favour the opening of the International training centre for monitors,
and managers of associations, in the field of social volunteering.
The fall of the Berlin wall raised the awareness of GSVI that made its
experience available in the field of services offered to Eastern European
youth. In this perspective cultural exchanges were organised, housing
for two consecutive years 150 youngsters Russians in the Centovalli, and
twenty-five Romanian youngsters for a period of diversion and knowledge
of the territory lasting two weeks. At present this initiative goes on.
In 2002, actually, in the valley of Olivone, sixty Hungarian youngsters
came to experience solidarity. This hospitality gave a chance to twenty-five
Ticinese youngsters to visit in their turn and be housed in Hungary.
The presence on the territory, however, never stopped. Violence against
minors became a hot issue and forced GVSI into proposing scope for action
against this problem. To this end the SOS CHILDREN PHONE was set up.
In 1985, the earthquake in Mexico offered new scope for action. The intervention
of GSVI in Mexico City targeted juvenile suffering, building a health
centre in the neighbourhood of Nuova Delicias for children and minors.
Later, the social organisation of the town was tackled, dealing with minors
in the street, sexual violence, and drug. The association built, to this
end, a shelter house for twenty-five street youngsters and offers help,
with the presence of three volunteers, to the association "Hogares
Provvidencia" for two years. Not only, the association also works
to treat diseases related to pollution and starvation of the youngest,
also acting through funding aimed at paying the drugs necessary to heal
the abandoned youngsters. Until now GSVI paid the therapy for twenty youngsters,
and aims at reaching the number of fifty before 2005.
In addition to Mexico, GSVI opened a new front for action in Honduras,
in 1984. There are more and more youngsters at the centre of our care.
In Honduras a well for drinking water is being built in an animation and
educational centre, which is also supplied with electric power and sewage
system, a classroom and a dormitory for 35 youngsters are about to be
finished. Two volunteers of GSVI supervised the work, during 14 months.
In 2001 a centre of vocational training was set up with the structural
organisation, campaigns were launched for nutrition, sexual education,
and a nursery network was organised to treat children infectious diseases.
Among future objectives, in 2003, a front will be opened in Peru, with
the association committed against street violence in Lima.
NOAH'S ARK , a Brazilian ONG founded by the Tessin citizen Mauro Rusconi and his wife Cleo, call for the collaboration and support of GVSI. In May 2003 the core of a temporary collaboration till the year 2006 was debated during a meeting in Turin . The aim is to grant continuity to a reception house for children from 0 up to 14 years, in the city of Marilia , 400 km far from the North of S. Paolo. Contractually is agreed a commitment, subdivided in performances to be supported by Switzerland, and the payment of the professional staff in order to satisfy the conditions imposed by the local municipality for the practice of the centre, while the local ONG will engage itself in other costs, in the nutrition of the children and the maintenance of the welcome centre.
During the month of June the coordinator went to Martilia to check the situation on site and to signature the contract. The collaboration began officially after this meeting, happened in presence of the Swiss consul in S. Paolo, Mr. Mondada.
Different initiatives were developed during the whole year, both in Ticino and in Marilia . The project is followed-up by Tessin citizens, who occasionally visit Brazil . In the month of June 2004, the coordinator carried out the second supervision and confirmed the correct leading of the project according to the program.
Other interest centres are developed around the NOAH'S ARK project. The responsible of the Brazilian ONG go to Tessin in October during 15 days. A synergy is developed between the different interest centres. Meeting with volunteers who want to go there, information evenings with godparents, charity and information performance have been programmed. An intense presence, that offers moments of particular familiarity and attention for those who are linked to the project and who wants to take part to it in the future.
In 2006, in Mexico, the collaboration with two new local ONG, Ampiamex and Piccolo Cottolengo, which take care of mentally disabled minors and persons with disabilities, started.
2007: the Group of Volunteers of Italian Switzerland strengthens its activity at the international level, sending two Supsi students for two months in Brazil within the Noah’s Ark project and a volunteer girl with a university degree in curative pedagogy who will be working in Mexico for 4 months. The presence at Mexico City at the Amistad house is maintained, helping 5 more young cancer patients. Noah’s Ark: the patronage increased and currently there are as many 30 donors. Many volunteers started the training and will go to Brazil in 2008. At the national and cantonal level, the activity is steady. The activity in the neighborhood continues, even if short-term, and the information service and international secretariat work regularly with active presences on the territory.
STATUTE of the Association GROUP
OF VOLUNTEERS OF ITALIAN SWITZERLAND (GVSI)
Art. 1 Name
The association GROUP OF VOLUNTEERS OF ITALIAN SWITZERLAND (GVSI), for
non-profit purposes, is set up under the terms of art. 60, and following,
of the Swiss Civil Code.
Art. 2 Objective
The objective of GVSI is to offer to all the youngsters of Ticino and
Italian Grigioni the possibility to experience group life over a long
period of time carrying out the service. For GVSI members service is the
evidence of Christian or social commitment expressed in a continuous availability
towards the others, and involving all aspects of volunteer’s life
in his family and environment, shown mainly through a direct and actual
Art. 3 Activity
The association can carry out all the activities held as necessary to
reach the association objective in Switzerland and abroad.
It will benefit from the work of volunteers and can also recruit staff
with a salary.
In particular the objectives of GVSI are reached through the participation
a) with working fields and colonies organised in Ticino, in Switwerland
b) to help actions organised in case of catastrophe according to group
c) to animation activities in favour of social and help work;
d) to an action of information and coordination of activities and working
fields organised by other bodies having similar purposes.
Art. 4 Domicile
The association has its legal offices at Giubiasco.
Art. 5 Members
Art. 5.1 Founding members
Founding members are all those persons who supported the association during
the constitution up meeting held on September 26th 1992.
Art. 5.2 Other members
All the persons who share the purposes of the association can apply in
written form to be admitted in the association, passing through the direction.
Art. 5.3 Members register
The direction has a members register.
Art. 5.4 Resignations
Those who hand in their resignations to the direction or do not pay the
yearly fee are no longer members.
Art. 6 Bodies
The bodies of the association are:
Art. 7 General meeting
approve or modify the statute;
decide the winding up of the association;
discuss and decide addresses and general orientations of the association;
appoint every five years the direction;
discuss and approve the yearly report of the direction;
examine and approve the yearly financial statement and the report of
the auditing body;
set yearly fees of members.
The general meeting has the following purposes:
The general meeting is held, usually, twice a year, one in the autumn
and one at springtime.
Art. 8 Direction
The Direction is composed of at least three members. It elects internally,
every five years, a coordinator and appoints a cashier and/or a secretary,
also external. It decides by the majority of the attendees.
Art. 9 Tasks of the Direction
The Direction is competent for:
- following the interests of the association and guarantee current
- represent the association before third parties, also in court;
- summon and prepare the general meeting;
- submit the report and yearly financial account to the general meeting;
- admit new members.
Art. 10 Rappresenzanza dell'associazione
The association is bound to the collective signature of two persons, the
coordinator with another member of the Direction.
Art. 11 Audit body
The audit body is composed of one or more auditors appointed every two
years by the General meeting.
Art. 12 Financing
The association assets consist of the contributions of natural persons
and corporations, of donations, endowments, legacies, offers of any kind
and the yearly fees of the members. Any personal liability of the members
is waived. The financial period ends on December 31st of each year, the
first time on December 31st 1992
Art. 13 Scioglimento
The winding up of the association can be decided only by a general meeting
attended by at least 2/3 of the members. Statute approved by the foundation
general meeting on September 26th 1992 at Giubiasco.
The direction coordinator A member of the direction
Fredy Mari Raffaella Junghi
At 9.01 PM of May 6th 1976 a terrific earthquake of 59 seconds wreaked
havoc in the region of Friuli. 3548 sq. Km. were struck seriously, 982
deaths, 150 000 homeless.
During summer months of 1976, 1977, 1978 a group of Ticinese youngsters
helped the population of the municipality of Forgaria in Friuli.
The work was organised into interventions of various types: clearing ruins,
help to rebuild some houses.
Together with manual activity however animation and meetings with the
population were not disregarded, and a special attention was assigned
to the importance of life within the group of volunteers.
With the population of Forgaria, but mainly between participants to different
working camps therefore a particular situation of friendship and fraternity
Aiming at developing and turning this into an ongoing stream of warmness
and human solidarity, the participants to working camps of 1978 decided
to organise an open and independent group under the name of
GROUP OF VOLUNTEERS
ITALIAN SWITZERLAND (GVSI)
The group aims at offering to all youngsters of Italian Ticino and Grigioni
the chance to experience the long-lasting life within the group carried
out through the assistance service.
For members of GVSI the assistance service is the evidence of Christian
or social commitment that translates into an ongoing availability towards
others implying all aspects of volunteer’s life in his family and
in his environment and it acts particularly through a direct and concrete
The objectives of GVSI will be reached through participation and cooperation
- to working camps organised in Ticino, in Switzerland or abroad
- to actions of help organised in case of disasters, according to the
availability of group members
- to activities of animation in favour of social and assistance work
- to an action of information and coordination of activities in working
camps organised by other bodies that share the same objectives.
GVSI is open to youngsters of both sexes from 18 years of age and is
free from political or religious bonds.
Addresses and activities of the group are decided by the meeting of all
A group of animation composed of 10 - 12 persons is in charge of:
- guaranteeing the consistency of core subjects
- implementing the choices of the meeting
- animating the activity proposing moments of meeting with all group
- researching information on possibilities of volunteering.
Within the group of animation the members of it share many organisational
The members of the animation group represent also GVSI before third parties
in the organisation and in the implementation of activities.
In the choice and organisation of activities the following basic issues
should be compiled with:
- The volunteer should fit any needs of the moment without a particular
preference of work. The commitment of volunteering however is not linked
to the quantity of work done.
- In general daily work lasts from 6 to 8 hours so not to spoil
life within the group understood as:
a) Moment of enrichment of the group and of the single volunteer.
b) Meeting other groups
c) Contact and meeting with the population in compliance with authorities
and local customs.
- All details (time, type, duration, programme of work, food and accommodation)
should be agreed upon in due course between the recipients and the volunteers,
and should be in written form.
- The volunteer works for free. Any money offers will be donated to
the cash of the group.
The members of the group pay a voluntary fee to guarantee the coverage
of current organisational expenses. Those who participate to it will cover
expenses due to a particular activity.
Furthermore each volunteer should be privately insured against risks deriving
from disease and accidents.
Each voluntary member of the GROUP OF VOLUNTEERS OF ITALIAN SWITZERLAND
(GVSI) accepts the core subjects and the contents of the present MAGNA
CHARTA approved during the meeting held at
Bellinzona November 10th 1978 (many signatures herein)
GROUP OF VOLUNTEERS OF ITALIAN