When Miguel-Ángel Marín retired from his teaching position at a Canadian university, where he had taught computer engineering for almost 40 years, he faced a challenge that many retirees share: to find new meaningful activities to replace work. I found the days long. My woodworking hobby was my first entertainment, he remembers. When he started looking for ways to put his time and skills to good use, he found that there were plenty of opportunities waiting for him within the local as well as the global community.
Give us a chance. Some of the seniors have much to offer but don't know how to start, where to go online, and whom to contact. Once we get involved, it is like resurrecting...we find again a purpose for our lives.
-- Miguel-Ángel Marín, UN Online Volunteer
Today, Miguel-Ángel serves at the local library, helps children at the public primary school with their homework and does gardening along with other seniors at the local cemetery. As a UN Online Volunteer, he translates documents into his mother tongue Spanish for the Colombian Red Cross, the British NGO Teach A Man To Fish and the U.S. based Professional Education Organization International (PEOI).
These tasks allow me to learn a lot about the great humanitarian work that the Colombian Red Cross is doing, or about the concept of Teach A Man To Fish of helping agricultural schools in developing countries become financially sustainable through school owned businesses, he says.
His collaboration with PEOI even allows him to share his engineering expertise, as he is translating courses in electrical engineering, which the organization offers to disadvantaged students worldwide. Giving to those organizations and to people who do not have access to a formal education and training stimulates me intellectually and gives me a feeling of satisfaction. Giving freely of oneself is a wonderful experience. It simply warms the heart.