Youth empowerment to change futures
A Quadpack Foundation partner, the Catalan charity Fundació Impulsa connects businesses and students to help improve their opportunities
Founded by a group of businessmen from the Osona region in Catalonia, Spain, Fundació Impulsa is a young organisation that helps socially vulnerable young people access better educational and professional opportunities. Thanks to the commitment of partner companies and volunteer mentors who have inspired and supported more than 230 students, the Foundation is now expanding into new regions and launching new projects, positively impacting young lives and communities. We interviewed Alejandra Manau, Executive Director, and Marta Miró, Programme Coordinator of Fundació Impulsa, about their projects' reach and importance.
Tell us about the Foundation's history and purpose.
Fundació Impulsa was created in 2015 as a social project with high school students who had difficulties accessing higher education due to social and economic challenges. The aim was to give these young people the opportunity for career development. Thanks to the professional and personal support provided by our organisation, 233 students have improved their future prospects. Our mentors are the driving force of the Foundation. They're trustworthy, experienced people who develop a close relationship with each student: they can take walks, go to the library or the forest, for example, and during these encounters talk about subjects related to studies, how to organise themselves, any difficulty with a school subject, etc. Mentors can also introduce the student to a company they know for an internship.
Why is the work you do at Fundació Impulsa important?
Our work generates real value and social impact. Many of these young people potentially would not have studied beyond high school due to social and economic vulnerabilities. In Catalonia, the possibility of finishing vocational training or university studies is around 50%, while 90% of our young people manage to do so. At a minimum, they finish their time at the Foundation with a technical degree; almost half finish with a university degree and around 80% find a job after completing their studies.
Is there a personal story that has touched you, especially?
There are many stories. A recent one happened during confinement. At the end of last year, while we were in total lockdown, one of our mentors alerted us about a young man who no longer followed the online classes, who had dropped out of his studies at his educational centre. The student had access to the technological means that Fundación Impulsa offers him, but he lost his motivation. The fact that the mentor was there, that he realised it, and that we could intervene quickly helped us turn the situation around. We were convinced that, at that time, there was a very great risk that he would drop out permanently, but he finished the course with good results.
What has been the effect of the pandemic on activities?
The pandemic was a very big challenge for both the Foundation and young people. Many of our projects have an important face-to-face element, and suddenly they had to leave the practical part of their training. Our activities were moved to an online format, and contact with the mentors became exclusively online.
What are the new projects of the Fundació Impulsa?
We have entered new territories. Until 2020, Fundació Impulsa operated in three Catalonian regions, and in the next academic year, we will start in three others. We are also launching the Impulsa Oportunidades program, with the aim to provide training and apprenticeships. Companies can be involved in this social project by hiring and training our young people for a few months so that they learn to work and gain technical and behavioural knowledge at work.
What impact has Quadpack Foundation's support had on your work?
In addition to the essential economic support, Quadpack Foundation has given us strength and credibility. We are a young charity and the help of a company like Quadpack, with its size and reputation, gives us the confidence to believe that we are doing things right.