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ARGENTINA: Salesian Students Make Blankets for Poor Families for the Winter Months

(MissionNewsire) Don Bosco Institute in Rawson, the capital city of the Argentine province of Chubut, a sparsely populated region located at the southern end of South America, collected blankets that were donated to poor families in the neighboring communities within the province. In addition, for the first time, Salesian volunteers manufactured bricks from recycled paper to be used also as a form of heating for families who need special assistance during the winter.

The whole community was invited to participate in collecting blankets and to donate raw material, fabrics, wool or linen to make the blankets. Last year 53 blankets were donated and the goal is to reach even more families this year. Blankets are made for babies and small children as well as the elderly. The project reaches those in the community of Rawson who need assistance and those Salesian missionaries are connected to through the Salesian missions in the surrounding areas.

“The project has a particular tone this year, since we are also making bricks of recycled paper to be used to heat homes in our neighborhood,” says Ivonne Iralde, director of the Don Bosco Institute. “Several schools were involved in the collection of paper, which helped them to learn team building skills and working with one another.”

The project also gave the young students a chance to give back to their own community. Salesian have been working in Argentina to provide educational opportunities to poor youth for many years. Salesian technical and agricultural programs and other services educate youth and help them learn skills to gain stable employment.

“Salesian missionaries are working hard to educate youth in Argentina and provide them a path out of poverty,” says Father Mark Hyde, executive director of Salesian Missions, the U.S development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. “The academic and technical programs offered show how education and training not only benefit the individual student, but also entire communities as graduates return home and share the skills they have acquired or start up local businesses.”

In another give back opportunity, Salesian missionaries in Buenos Aires, Argentina’s cosmopolitan capital, launched a campaign to collect school supplies in order to provide poor youth the necessities they need to focus on school and advance in their educational studies. Students attending Salesian schools collected and then donated school supplies to 1,500 Salesian school children in six schools in the neediest areas of the country.

Many students’ families in Argentina are unable to provide the cost for basic school supplies likes pens, pencils, notepads and books. As a result, students are often unprepared for their lessons or cannot take part in classroom activities like other students. Students who are not prepared often suffer academically and have higher rates overall of dropping out of school and not finishing their education. This campaign was a great opportunity for youth to help other students like themselves have the opportunities to excel in school.

More than a quarter of 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 five 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.



ANS – Argentina – Don Bosco Rawson

World Bank- Argentina