Mariola started volunteering when she was a little girl. In 2014, she had her first international volunteering experience in an orphanage in Guinea Bissau, Africa, and after her return, her life changed radically. By that time, she started volunteering with Lifting Hands, which was a very small local NGO in Costa Rica. Since 2016, she became their Executive Director and has been a witness of the big challenges, but majorly, the amazing achievements the team and beneficiaries have been accomplishing.
Lifting Hands is a Costa Rican NGO that seeks to improve the quality of life of people who live in high risk communities through an integral model based on education, health, psychology and community development. They work through volunteers and donors who are also impacted throughout the program. By now, more than 5000 people has been indirectly impacted, more than 1000 directly, more than 1500 volunteers have been involved for at least 14 weeks, and they work with 120 corporate allies.
In her role, Mariola leaders the organisation, develops the annual strategy, is in charge of fundraising and administration, and is the main contact between external links and the team (donors, companies, etc). Even though Lifting Hands is her job, on her free time, it is also her favourite place to be. She feels at home just colouring books with the little kids or talking about dinosaurs and dreams with her little friend Thiago; but also, listening and playing an active role with woman who ask for counselling and help, guiding them to break violent cycles.
“I am extremely honoured to receive the Carolina Nyberg-Steiser Bursary, not only because of the big privilege it is to be selected by Greenpeace and her family, but for the people I am going to be able to learn from and network with. I believe in innovation, in breaking paths and finding new ways. But I also believe in learning from others and building alliances to enrich our work and with it, better the world.”