URUGUAY: New home for children provides family-like environment
Salesian missionaries open Casa Valdocco to provide a home to 35 children
(MissionNewswire) Salesian missionaries have opened Casa Valdocco in Montevideo, Uruguay, to provide support 35 children between the ages of 5-12 who need assistance from the state. Casa Valdocco’s main objective is to ensure that children spend as little time as possible in public institutions and instead be in a family-like environment. The project is part of the Network of Salesian Social Works, coordinated by the Trampoline Foundation. It will be managed by a group of lay Salesians accompanied by a staff of 25 who are experts in various disciplines.
An inauguration ceremony was attended by the Salesian staff and administrators, as well as authorities from the Child and Adolescent Institute, Provincial Father Alfonso Bauer, Archbishop of Montevideo Cardinal Daniel Sturla, and Father Marcelo Fontona, the director of the Trampoline Foundation.
Pablo Abdala, president of the Child and Adolescent Institute, said, “We will work with children to ensure that they are protected, cared for, assisted and accompanied in the exercise of their rights with the aim of strengthening their family ties when they have been weakened.”
He added, “The rich tradition of understanding between the Institute and the Salesian Society alone can do many things, but, together, we can do many more, completing the efforts to achieve the promotion of human rights of children, which is a social task of the state and civil society.”
Fr. Bauer noted that the Network of Salesian Social Works had been working on the project as a response to the need for support for these children. He emphasized that the house is called Casa Valdocco, in reference to the first oratory founded by Don Bosco. Fr. Bauer said, “In this house, children will feel loved, accompanied and valued. It is about putting them at the center of all our concerns and providing the necessary support to reintegrate them into society and having faith in their full potential.”
Salesian missionaries offer many programs in Montevideo including shelters, primary and secondary schools, and technical and vocational education centers that help youth prepare for the future and learn the skills to be independent.
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.
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Salesian Missions – Uruguay
World Bank – Uruguay