BUENOS AIRES – They’re known as ‘Villas Miseria’ or quite simply ‘Villas’ and they grew outside big cities in the Great Depression of the 1930s, known in Argentina as the ‘Infamous Decade’. The Villas are shanty towns similar to Brazilian Favelas or Venezuelan Ranchos and there are still many all over the country.
In the outskirts of Buenos Aires, in the Villas of La Traza (Remedios De Escalada, Lanús) and La Matanza, live the children of Inter Campus Argentina. Walking through the neighbourhood, along the dirt roads you see run-down housing made of wood and sheet metal, some in brickwork, with no windows, toilets or running water. Nice people live there but these places are also home to violence and poverty, as well as substance abuse, drug dealing and other criminal activities caused by desperate living conditions.
And it’s situations like these, particularly those at risk of domestic violence and abuse, that the PUPI Foundation and Father Mario’s Obra Foundation want to protect children from. They want to give them a better future through solid educational and emotional support. The days spent in Buenos Aires alongside figures from the partner foundations, the enthusiastic team of local coaches and the Inter Campus children were intense.
The Inter Campus staff used the visit to continue their monitoring of the project and update the local coaches via meetings and theory work on the field. As ever this represented a great opportunity to discuss and exchange ideas, learning from one another.
Life is hard in a big city like Buenos Aires but the positive work and commitment of lots of people help contribute to the children’s wellbeing. The reward is the kids’ enthusiasm and their everyday triumphs.