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ARGENTINA: Blanket project started by schoolgirl grows

Salesian House in Rawson facilitates project that provides hand-crafted blankets for families in need during the winter months


(MissionNewswire) The Salesian House in Rawson, the capital city of the Argentine province of Chubut, a sparsely populated region located at the southern end of South America, has a project that creates and donates blankets for families in need during the winter months. The project, which began in 2010, was initially launched by a young girl in the Salesian school in Rawson who wanted to give back to her community.

When the project first started, seven blankets were made and donated to families in Rawson and the Chubut plateau region. Given the project’s effectiveness and the gratitude of beneficiaries, more people have joined the initiative and the number of blankets grew to 70 in 2019.

Seamstresses and weavers from across the country have helped create the blankets. There are also volunteers who deliver small squares of fabric that are then joined to form a blanket. Other people donate wool and some deliver the finished blankets.

The project was also able to remain active during 2020 at the height of the pandemic. Families knitted from their homes and then sent what they had created to the Salesian Home in Rawson. The closing event was carried out through a videoconference and was completed with an online sewing training session.

In 2021, 30 blankets have already been woven and many have already been given to families in need. This year, blankets were also provided to people in the Andean Comarca region in support of those impacted by the recent fires there.

“This project is a way for people to give back to their community and provides a gesture of goodwill to their neighbors,” said Father Gus Baek, director of Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. “The project has grown substantially since it first started helping families in need get through the winter months. It is one among many services provided by Salesian programs in the region.”

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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