María Florencia Rodríguez Estévez has been working for 14 years at MAPFRE ARGENTINA and, since 2008, participating in the company’s Volunteering Program, one of the first in her office to sign up. For her, this activity became a way of looking at life.




“Many little people, in little places, doing little things can change the world”

Eduardo Galeano


When you are a volunteer, when you feel it profoundly, when you take on that commitment as an act of love, it undoubtedly becomes a way of life, the desire to help is spontaneous. From my earliest days as a volunteer at MAPFRE, I discovered that this is a two-way affair. That’s what makes it magical, because you receive so much back that, little by little, your life starts changing. Each action, however small it may seem, produces a change in the other person, and in ourselves.

I’ve participated in different activities, with different groups of colleagues and, over time, I’ve been joined by family, friends… and, looking back, I can see the path I’ve traveled, compiling incredible stories along the way that have significantly marked my life.

One of the most memorable actions was building a house for a family with very limited economic resources. Those were days of really intense work. We had to put body, mind and soul into it; we could sense the poverty, we felt it, we walked in the shoes of others and comprehended situations from the inside. It was a truly profound experience, the kind that makes you start reconsidering many aspects of your life: the things you possess, how much we can change the lives of others if we set our minds to it, if we combine our efforts. It was very moving and motivating to offer that family a roof. Today, five years after that experience, I still recall it with the same emotion.

Other milestones on my journey as a volunteer include having discovered the Hogar San José, where homeless elderly people live, many without a family, and where, eight years ago now, we collaborated tirelessly on a range of activities. We carried out gardening chores and recreational activities, but, above all else, we shared time, chats, stories and moments of joy. This relationship shows me that, when things are done with a genuine heart, a bond of mutual love, impossible to break, is formed. We’ve lived out so many stories at that residency; I’ve seen colleagues’ children grow up and, over time, seen them also go down the volunteering road.

Today, after so many years, the Hogar San José is our home, a feeling that is difficult to explain with words, but one which those of us who have been going there for years all share, a beautiful feeling that always encourages us to return.

Each action, however small it may seem, produces a change in the other person, and in ourselves

And I must highlight the fact that, at the end of 2017, I participated in the organization of the Different Race, the first competition for children with disabilities. It was a great challenge, something new for the MAPFRE volunteers in Argentina, and an experience that, without a doubt, we want to repeat. We joined in to help realize the idea of a passionate group of athletes, who were thinking of the less fortunate and saw the possibility of offering children with various physical, motor and intellectual disabilities a chance to enjoy the experience of practicing sport. It was wonderful to see children together with their families, volunteers, athletes, “payamedics”… participating in an unforgettable party and see all of them cross the finish line. These are the things that reaffirm my volunteering vocation every day!

Today, after all these years as a volunteer in MAPFRE, I can say that I’ve made friends, formed valuable bonds that will no doubt accompany me throughout my life and I choose to continue down this path. I hope there will be many more of us!