-TEXT Alicia Gómez-Monedero
Fernando del Castillo met Nieves Tomillo in November 1991, at a congress on the family organized in Rome. At that time, St. John Paul II summoned leaders from all countries dedicated to the theme of family and life and urged them to dedicate themselves full time to the task of caring for the family and life through testimonies, talks and courses.
That is why Fernando (BA in Philosophy and Letters and Master in Couple and Family Therapy), left his job as a high school teacher. Nieves (BA in Philosophy and Letters and in Psychopedagogy), who was working at the European Community in Brussels at the time, also returned to Spain after leaving her job.. "We began to meet as an association under the guidance of Alfonso López Quintás, an educator and professor. Our office was a cafeteria and we started with the assistance part, that is, accompanying single mothers and AIDS patients".says Fernando. "It was something totally vocational, we shared what was ours, our knowledge, our time, our being and with the anthropology of López Quintás we began to give talks to young people, the elderly and teachers. Word of mouth was what made us known in different schools and parishes."continues the professor.
Why didn't I meet you before?
A turning point was the trip they made to Seville, invited by the Adorers to their house of welcome to speak to the women who were there. It was in 1992, shortly after the beginning of this adventure. They spoke of their experience of courtship, of human love. "Why wasn't I told about this before?"is the question a young woman asked him. She was coming off drugs after prostituting herself to get them and, after getting into a brawl, committing a crime of homicide. Upon his release from the halfway house he would face several years in prison. At that moment, Fernando and Nieves realized that, in addition to accompanying single mothers and AIDS patients, it was necessary to prevent and do everything possible to prevent the young people of that time from becoming the sick and single mothers of the future.. "With that anecdote we saw that we had to go to young people before they got into prostitution camps and so we started, telling our own testimony, how we saw what human love was like."recalls Fernando. And soon after, affective-sexual education workshops emerged. These were the beginnings of what is today the Fundación Solidaridad Humana.
In the years 1992-1993, talking openly about sexuality was not common. However, and seeing the need to respond to advertising campaigns that encouraged young people to use contraceptive methods (thus trying to avoid early pregnancies, but achieving the opposite), Nieves and Fernando began to talk about sexuality in an orderly and well-lived way. Not only to young people, but also to parents, teachers and even priests. They thus entered the Subcommittee on the Family of the Episcopal Conference (where they have been for 12 years) and also spoke to the bishops.
Giving talks in schools and youth groups in parishes, they realized that 14 and 15 year olds were shocked by their testimony because it made them reflect and see that the solution was not the condom.. "We started with young people but soon we also addressed parents and teachers because we saw that otherwise the message would be inconsistent over time."explains Fernando. "We also set about providing formation in seminaries and novitiates."because this is an area of life that affects and encompasses everyone.
"We have reached many thousands of people: we have spoken to 14,000 students a year, and with our publications we have reached many more people, and thousands of people have passed through our courses."is Fernando's assessment after 27 years in business.
Within its program there are workshops for all ages and all situations. The accompaniment in any stage of life that requires it, is fundamental. For example, the Human Love Course is aimed at engaged or married couples, "because life as a couple is not easy and because when the marriage is not going well, the dampness and the cracks begin. The part affects the whole, if the marriage is not right, the children feel it and suffer".. Then, there are also workshops on how to talk to your children about sexuality, so that they do it well and do not get ahead of themselves. "pornography or an 'expert' that might confuse them"..
Receive much more
For Fernando, also as a married man and father of a family, the Fundación "It has been very helpful. I can say that I receive more than I give, because when you dedicate yourself to this you experience a lot in someone else's head and you are seeing things that happen to you and that give me a life lesson. It has helped me a lot in my family to express myself, to open my heart, to live a healthy sexuality and many other things".. To participate in the foundation's courses and workshops, obtain more information and view its publications, please visit its website: www.fsh.es