URUGUAY: New dormitory launches to provide shelter
The Salesian Institute Pio IX of Villa Colón launches a new dormitory to shelter people without homes
(MissionNewswire) The Salesian Institute Pio IX of Villa Colón, located in Montevideo, Uruguay, launched a new dormitory to shelter people without homes during winter nights. It is the first dormitory to be opened as a result of the coordination of the Ministry of Social Development with La Olla de Villa Colón, an initiative of the Salesian Youth Movement of Villa Colón.
The dormitory is providing shelter for many people who do not want to enter other more structured centers. Juan José Malvárez, a Salesian past pupil and official from the National Directorate for Social Protection for the Ministry of Social Development, said, “This is a collaborative initiative with organizations that know the people who live on the street and with whom they have a bond of trust. For this reason, they are ready and willing to spend the night in these dormitories. This relational component makes the difference.”
La Olla de Villa Colón was created five years ago by the Salesian Youth Movement. Every Friday evening from March to December, its members go to meet those who live on the street with food that helps nourish them and also builds bonds. Volunteers with the Salesian Youth Movement listen to them and remind them of their dignity. Gradually over time, volunteers are then able to offer more help.
This year, with the collaboration of Ministry of Social Development, volunteers helped people without homes get vaccinated against COVID-19 and hosted other events to help encourage them to utilize the new dormitory.
“This idea for a new dormitory arose two months ago. We did tests to meet the homeless people all together in one place, to test mutual coexistence, and when we told them about it, they exploded with joy,” said Juan Pablo Paipó, one of the youth working with La Olla de Villa Colón.
The dormitory is located on a large property in a house that was specially renovated with the collaboration of the Salesian community and other benefactors. Its new inhabitants will have beds with new mattresses, pillows and blankets. Each bed will also have a name of the person who occupies it for a more personal touch.
Uruguay has managed to decrease its poverty rate by almost half since 2007. Today, the poverty rate is close to 10 percent with the majority of poor residents concentrated in rural towns and villages.
Most rural citizens in the country do not have the financial resources or education and training necessary to find and maintain stable employment. Running a profitable business venture or maintaining a small farm with access to the national and international markets is increasingly competitive and remains largely out of reach, especially in households run by women. The majority of rural poor are those most often engaged in non-agricultural activities.
In addition to a lack of education and employment opportunities, access to affordable housing is a concern for many poor families in Uruguay. Many do not have the resources to purchase homes or land to build on, and schools are often so far away children cannot attend.
ANS Photo (usage permissions and guidelines must be requested from ANS)
Salesian Missions – Uruguay
World Bank – Uruguay