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ARGENTINA: Children receive support for learning during pandemic

Salesian Youth Movement volunteer provides educational support to children at Don Bosco House in Formosa


(MissionNewswire) Ivan Peñalva is a 25-year-old law student and member of the University Missionary Project initiated by the Salesian Youth Movement in the Córdoba Province in Argentina. He recently started new volunteer service at the Don Bosco House in Formosa.

At the Don Bosco House, children have breakfast, do their homework and catch up with their lessons. It is a pleasant and joyful educational environment where, in addition to studying, youth feel listened to, supported and loved. Volunteers work together with professional staff to provide school support to children who have difficulty carrying out virtual lessons for various reasons including lack of computers or internet.

Peñalva said, “It was a gift from God in these times of the pandemic and an enormous joy to be able to be with children again after a long time. I enjoy the educational environment.”

He added, “At the beginning of their lessons children had discouraged looks and some gave curt answers to personal questions. These no longer exist and now they have looks of joy, the greetings are warm. They are happy to be focused on their homework with the help we provide.”

Volunteers like Mariel have stepped up as well. She noted she is doing everything in her power to help children continue their studies. She keeps in touch with families by phone, pays attention to deadlines for reporting expenses, gives them the tools to do their homework and helps them.

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 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 aged 5 to 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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