Maria Etty Marin
Maria Etty Marin was born in Colombia in 1955 and came to London in 1983. She talks about the early voluntary groups in which she was involved, and about using leftover materials collected during day jobs as cleaners.
Listen to Maria (in Spanish, mp3, 726kb)
Read transcript in Spanish (pdf, 11kb)
'We participated in a lot of things, many groups were created. I was in the folkloric dance group, we created things with children, my sisters-in-law worked with Chileans and Argentineans who created the Mafalda nursery, and as parents we would help with the parents committee, and many of us helped with the Latin American Advisory Committee which dealt with welfare issues. The Latin American Workers Association was created, the Colombian Solidarity Committee.
'I think that was a period of development for the community not just in forming new groups but also in getting together… At a personal level that made us grow a lot, it helped us to understand many things about this country and it helped us to miss less our role and activities as community workers. It helped us to continue with the community work we had done in Colombia…
'We would collect paper, many people from the community, the first things people would give us, because they were cleaning offices and everything got thrown away there, they would bring us paper, pencils, things for the committees, for information.
'When we started with the dance group the people who worked in hotels would ask for the sheets and the first dance outfits were all made of hotel sheets. So some women who sewed made the first dresses.
'So, everything was voluntary and people would work for free and the poor person who had a car was the one taking people from one place to the other.'
Copyright Evelyn Oldfield Unit