The name of the Bona Voluntat association grew out of its origins, a group of friends who agreed to help people in need and who decided to focus their efforts on a place where there were significant societal problems. That is how they arrived in Poble-sec in Barcelona. In the beginning they were helping out 8 families and eventually more and more people came onboard. They currently cater for 160 to 170 families a month, which is about 400 people.
With virtually non-existent state support, their plans for the immediate future and their hope is to just keep doing what they are doing. For them, their most important work is to distribute food and to train people to help them get onto the job market. A major part of BVA's work is geared towards helping children by working towards preventing social exclusion. Remedial teaching classes, cultural and leisure activities and summer camp are just some of the activities on offer. This is where one of the hopes that BVA has for the future lies: expanding their children's activities and stepping up the support offered to young children.
Poble-sec has a lot of problems to contend with: unemployment, drugs, and conflict. After the Latin Americans, the second largest group of people who attend the center are people from the Maghreb. Many of these people come for the Spanish and Catalan classes. There has also been a rise in the birthrate, above all during the years of the crisis and there are also lots of elderly women living alone. The rest of the attendees come from Asia and other parts of Europe while some hail from sub-Saharan Africa.
The effectiveness of the aid provided revolves around three axes: an individual work plan, the volunteer's commitment and their connection to other service networks that cater to people's particular needs. The goal of the work plan is to help people get out into the labor market. In order to achieve this they provide mediation and job research services along with language courses (Catalan, Spanish and English) and training in other skills such as IT, cooking and care of the elderly. Some users also receive donated food, clothing, personal hygiene products and items for the home.
With a 22-year track record, BVA has established itself as one of the most well-known resources in this part of Barcelona. This association works to remind us of the dignity which should be afforded to every person in a society such as ours: having their basic needs met and having the right to a job. Above all, those who are at risk of being completely overlooked by society have the opportunity to find a place to call home here.