Our mission is to provide young people with opportunities to remain in their villages and earn an income, so that they are no longer forced to migrate to other countries to find work. They have received everything for free, and so now they can also help those in need.
Operation Mato Grosso started off as an adventurous trip with the idea of helping others. In 1966, Fr. Ugo asked a group of young Italians to travel to Brazil for the summer to help his missionary friend, Fr. Pietro, build a school and health center. By July of the next year, 21 young people left for the Brazilian state of Mato Grosso. After four months of hard work, they were unable to complete their project – so some decided to stay. Those who returned to Italy started to raise money to support the mission by finding any work they could. Today, there are over 120 groups and 1,400 volunteers.
After its positive impact in Brazil, OMG expanded its mission to Bolivia, Ecuador, and Peru. As of 2020, Operation Mato Grosso has a total of 110 communities in South America: 69 in Peru, 18 in Ecuador, 12 in Brazil and 11 in Bolivia. Its missionaries – young people, families and priests who volunteer their work completely for free – perform numerous activities in different sectors: education, labor, health, agriculture, technology, social and religious.
Some of the projects:
- Houses and schools for orphans and abandoned children
- Homes for the elderly
- Free hospitals for the poor (the only ones of their kind in Peru, staffed by doctors, nurses and paramedics)
- Homes for children with disabilities
- Trade schools for teachers, nurses, woodcraftsmen, textile workers, etc.
- Ecological farms
- Construction projects including houses for the poor, road construction, water purification, electrification projects and reforestation, among others.
Our History in the US
In 2008, a young American from Boston was traveling in the Peruvian Andes when he happened to come across some Operation Mato Grosso volunteers working in a village. He immediately fell in love with their mission to support local people and decided to become a volunteer himself. Upon his return to the U.S. and after spending two years as a volunteer in the mission of Yungay, Fr Ugo suggested he start gathering young people in the U.S. to create OMG groups like the ones in Italy. He decided to take Fr. Ugo’s idea seriously. Since then, youth from the U.S. are gradually becoming more involved. After two summer month-long mission trips, and many other activities, Operation Mato Grosso can now count in their ranks three American groups of teenagers and young adults. Like our fellow Italian friends, we are raising money to support the missions. We meet 2-3 times per week during our free time to do volunteer work such as landscaping, painting, moving, cleaning – or any other work we can find. Pay we earn from the work goes directly to the charity.
To learn more, read or download the PDF below