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ARGENTINA: At-risk youth return to activities

Don Bosco Center in Bahía Blanca resumes youth groups activities in its courtyard

ARGENTINA

(MissionNewswire) Youth groups from the Don Bosco Center in Bahía Blanca, a city in the southwest province of Buenos Aires, Argentina, have resumed activities in the courtyard that had been previously suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Valdocco Theater, the Family Catechesis, the Explorers and members of the Missionary Childhood returned as coordinators rethink the youth activities under the current guidelines.

“As more activities resume for Salesian organizations in Argentina and around the globe, Salesian staff are still having to modify how the programs are facilitated,” said Father Gus Baek, director of Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. “Salesian programs have remained agile through the pandemic and are working to continue to provide services, while meeting safety guidelines, to help support youth and their families.”

Salesian missionaries offer programs in Bahía Blanca to help at-risk youth. The Don Bosco Boys program has grown considerably since it was started in 2001 to provide shelter and food for the city’s growing homeless population and for people who made a meager by living collecting newspapers and cardboard from the garbage.

Salesian Father Pablo Mardoni, from the Don Bosco Institute in Bahía Blanca, began the program with support from a small group of teachers and students. Later, they were joined by people from nearby districts who wanted to assist. Today, Don Bosco Boys provides outreach, a playground, an oratory and a homeless shelter.

Salesian programs across Argentina are primarily focused on education. Salesian primary and secondary education in the country prepares youth for technical, vocational or university studies. Other programs help meet the basic needs of poor youth and their families by providing shelter, proper nutrition and medical care, as well as by helping youth to engage in their education and have hope for the future.

More than a quarter of the people in Argentina live in conditions of poverty with no formal employment and poor-quality education, according to the World Bank. The country’s high school dropout rate is close to 37 percent and youth account for a third of those unemployed. Almost 12 percent of children ages 5-17 are working instead of being in school and 20 percent need government assistance. Many face malnutrition, a lack of clean water and sewage, and inadequate housing.

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Sources:

ANS Photo (usage permissions and guidelines must be requested from ANS)

ANS – Argentina – Youth groups of Salesian house in Bahía Blanca resume their activities

Salesian Missions – Argentina

World Bank – Argentina

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