As a student in Maynooth University, studying French and International Development, I found out about the Salesians of Don Bosco through St Catherine’s, their centre on campus. I come from a Church of Ireland background, so at first was unsure as to how much I could be involved there without being Catholic but was soon made to feel so welcome and accepted there that it became a frequent haunt!

During my second year, I found out about the Don Bosco International Volunteers and expressed my interest of volunteering with them, but then Covid-19 came along and that was all put on hold. However, I was given the opportunity of volunteering with Don Bosco Aid in their office in Dublin instead – an offer which I was delighted to accept! Being an International Development student, I realised that this would be fantastic work experience for me and would give me a great insight into the administrative work that NGOs do.

So much of this work is very much behind the scenes and unacknowledged, so I’d like to take this opportunity to give a shout out to Wojciech Mroczek, the Development Coordinator here, who does an amazing job at running the office and keeping everything running smoothly. He has also been a very patient teacher as he’s shown me how to process donations and use the online Salesforce system to make reports, send out thank you letters, etc.

Some of the other work I’ve been involved in has included editing project proposal forms for Misean Cara funding, planning for the Salesian Mission Day and this Bulletin, taking part in online training and workshops, and general office maintenance/organisation. It’s been such an interesting and varied learning experience, and I’m sure that it will really stand to me in the future, both as life experience in general, and more specifically in the field of development as I finish my studies and begin to look for work. Also, it’s a great way to give back to the Salesian family (in a small way) for everything that St Catherine’s has given me, as I’m so grateful for that community and the wonderful friends that I’ve made there.

Abigail Watson

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