ARGENTINA: Don Bosco Oratory provides a residence supported by the community for 29 youth who attend the local Salesian school
(MissionNewswire) Salesian missionaries operate the Don Bosco Oratory in Santiago del Estero, Argentina. The Don Bosco oratory operates with a minimal budget but provides a wealth of services for marginalized and at-risk youth. The structure has a youth center, community residence and a church with no facilities to generate income. Everything participants in the program receive is the result of donations and a community partnership facilitated by Salesian missionaries who run the program. The Salesians include Father Silvio Torres, Father Alejandro Jorrat, Father Julián Arroyo and Brother Javier Abregú.
The Don Bosco Oratory includes a residence for boys who attend the Don Bosco secondary school in Santiago del Estero. The housing is offered free for 29 students who are between the ages of 12 and 18 and who are from the areas of Las Tinajas, Copo, Alberdi, Moreno and San José de Boquerón.
From Monday to Friday the boys stay at the residence. They get up, do homework or other activities and at midday they prepare for lunch. They set the table and after meals they wash the dishes and tidy up. The school of Our Lady of the Rosary of Fatima opens its doors to them in the afternoon. On their return home, the boys have snacks and at the end of the day attend workshops and take baking and electro-technical courses or spend time playing sports.
Every activity and program offered is based on community support. Morning school support is provided by volunteers and meals are provided by local companies and shops. The Planning and Development Office of the Salesian Province Blessed Artemide Zatti of Northern Argentina works together with various organizations and foundations interested in supporting the Salesian work in Santiago del Estero.
“Community partnerships and support help to ensure Salesian programs have everything they need to serve youth in Argentina and around the globe,” says Father Mark Hyde, director of Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. “Salesian education aims to open doors for poor and at-risk youth and help them gain the job skills needed to find work in the local economy, support their families and give back to their communities.”
Salesian programs across Argentina are primarily focused on education. Salesian primary and secondary education in the country prepares youth for technical, vocational or university study. Other programs help meet the basic needs of poor youth and their families by providing shelter, proper nutrition and medical care, 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 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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World Bank – Argentina