Patricia Álvarez, looking forward
Today we want to introduce you to Patricia Alvarez, Coordinator of the Accounting Unit. Patty has been part of our work team for 15 years. Her leadership, commitment, and professionalism inspires us.
Hi! My name is Patricia, I like to be called Patty. I am a shy, serious, responsible, and friendly person. I like to watch series, crochet, listen to music, and watch cartoons with my daughters. My personal favorite quote is “All people have the ability to learn and achieve their goals if they set their minds to it“.
Hi Patty! To begin, tell us what is your position within the FAFG and what tasks do you perform?
I am the General Accountant and Coordinator of the Accounting Unit. Among my activities are keeping track of the execution of the projects, reviewing purchasing processes, preparing payroll calculations and labor benefits, reviewing the monthly reports with the supporting documentation for each project and consolidating the execution of each project in order to generate the financial statements where the FAFG information is presented.
How were your beginnings in the FAFG and how has working in the Foundation impacted you?
I started on 7 April 2007, and I have been working at the FAFG for 15 years. It shocks me a lot to see the relatives who are still waiting for the identification of someone who was Disappeared, and how when their loved one is identified they receive them in such a huge and grateful way to give them a decent burial. It is gratifying to see that the Foundation can do this kind of work.
Is there a memorable experience you’ve had at FAFG, either in the field or in the office?
I have had few experiences in the field. One of them was the exhumation carried out in the “La Verbena Cemetery”. They asked the administrative area to support the Forensic Archeology and Forensic Anthropology areas. They put the rappelling equipment on me and I was very nervous because I had to go down 6 meters in one of the ossuaries (bone well), something I had never done before. To go down I had to let go of the rope. The archaeologists helped me fall onto the crossed planks. When I was down there, I dedicated myself to supporting them in the documentation of the remains they were finding. It was very exciting because it was my first time interacting with the archaeologists and seeing the work they do up close. It takes a lot of dedication to be marking, measuring, confirming the traumas that are found in the bones, etc.
It is very different to be behind the computer and working with documents, to directly observe the work that archaeologists do in the exhumations. Also, it is very surprising to arrive at the Osteology Laboratory and see the bones on the tables and how they analyze them.
“I have seen how people, even at an elderly age, continue to search for their loved ones until the last hope of finding them” – Patricia Álvarez
As one of the leaders of the Accounting Unit, part of the Administration and Finance Directorate of the FAFG, what could you share with us about the evolution of the work in this area?
When I started at the FAFG there was no Forensic Genetics Laboratory. I was immersed in the construction process until I got to what it is now. It has marked me a lot how we have been evolving and improving technical processes, while the financial field has been expanding, and learning more about the different donors who contribute to the Foundation in order to continue with the work. It has been innovating and growing. The financial area also increased its personnel due to the growth that has taken place at an international level.
What personal lessons have you learned from being part of the FAFG Team?
I have learned history and I have understood the pain of people who have Disappeared relatives. I have seen how people, even at an elderly age, continue to search for their loved ones until the last hope of finding them. I have learned that we do not have to let ourselves be defeated and we must move on, that we must have perseverance with the things and the dreams that we want to achieve.
What is your vision for the FAFG?
I hope to see the Foundation continue to grow. In the time that I have been here, I have seen how it has evolved in technical and administrative processes. Before there was only exhumations, anthropological analysis and reburials. Later, the analysis of samples through forensic genetics began and, more recently, the Foundation has dedicated itself to training abroad. It is pleasing to see that the FAFG is recognized internationally.
I want to see the FAFG installed in other countries, with offices and staff located in certain areas to dedicate more time to the countries that need it, and to be acknowledged around the world. Also, I believe that the Foundation deserves national recognition for all the victims it has recognized.
We are close to celebrating 25 years as a Foundation, of which you have been a part for 15 years. In this context, what does the 25th Anniversary of the FAFG mean to you?
It means that the Foundation has been solidified. What has been seen in the past 25 years is the perseverance that the FAFG has had in continuing to support the families, because that is the objective: to assist the families to be able to deliver them their loved ones.
To finish, mention three words that you relate with the work of the FAFG:
Transparency, empathy, and innovation.