Argentina

Argentina: More than 1,200 children and youth have access to quality education

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Salesian-run St. Antonio da Padova House provides education and supportive programs to more than 1,200 children and older youth

(MissionNewswire) The Salesian-run St. Antonio da Padova House, located in city of Córdoba, in northern Argentina, has more than 1,200 children and older youth in its program. St. Antonio da Padova House provides ongoing support and education for these youth in need.

St. Antonio da Padova House has schools, a youth center and a parish where youth are immersed in a family environment and are taught with respect and appreciation. Youth are able to access primary and secondary education along with vocational training. St. Antonio da Padova House also provides a secondary school for adults.

Many of the youth who attend St. Antonio da Padova House programs come from impoverished families that have survived through informal, short-term jobs or face unemployment; are without access to quality education and adequate housing; and are at risk of violence and dependence on substances.

In addition to the formal education and support programs offered, Salesian missionaries also focus on a greener environment. They offer environmental workshops and “green islands” where small plants have been planted. In addition, the electrical wiring has been remodeled to make it safer and more efficient, and solar panels have also been installed in some of the classrooms.

“Children and older youth who come from challenging backgrounds have a chance for a better life through the programs offered by St. Antonio da Padova House,” said Father Gus Baek, director of Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. “Here they have the care and support of adults, can access education from primary school right through to vocational training and can develop relationships with their peers in a safe environment.”

Salesian programs across Argentina are primarily focused on education. Salesian primary and secondary education in the country prepares youth for technical, vocational or university studies. Other programs help meet the basic needs of poor youth and their families by providing shelter, proper nutrition and medical care, as well as 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 ages 5-17 are working instead of being in school and 20 percent need government assistance. Many face malnutrition, a lack of clean water and sewage, and inadequate housing.