Thousands of Children Need Our Help
Cold official data on the Argentine reality show a two-fold increase during the past two years in the number of kids and teenagers who spend the day begging, working or wasting their golden years of childhood in the street instead of studying, playing with friends at home or practicing sports. One half of the Argentine population is poor… and there they are, “the poorest among the poor”: the children.
The problem of these kids is manifold: they grow up too soon towards a kind of maturity they are not yet ready to live, they compromise their future because they are potentially illiterate, they will not study or will drop out of school, they will be undernourished and have their physical and emotional development reduced or impaired, they will starve and beg in the streets under the indifference of others and they will be chronically unemployed. These children are not aware of the fact that they have less possibilities and no opportunities, and that their rights are encroached.
It is discouraging to see that the deep crisis affecting our country has also wiped out the chances for family containment. Before, only one family member could be seen wandering the streets; now families have two or three members doing so; usually adults are unemployed or underemployed. Domestic violence and drug abuse have crept into the weakened homes and grabbed the most unprotected ones: the children.
At Felices los Niños Foundation, we have seen the number of assisted people to grow almost endlessly. It has been very difficult to cope with so alarming a reality, so complex in the numbers and in the documents, so misunderstood. Babies, children, youngsters, pregnant teenagers and teenage mothers who come to Felices los Niños Foundation homes and schools get food, education, health care, housing and spiritual formation. All we have done and do is a lot, but not enough.
And now what?
Thank God we know we are not alone. The easy way would be to state the problem and remain impassive. But this would make us part of the group of indifferent or absent-minded people. In such a context, it is impossible to think that governments and institutions will take charge of everything and solve things. It is time to analyze what each of us – within our possibilities, from our places – can do to help.
Structural problems cannot be solved individually, but something has started to change. People have started to change. Let’s make the change ourselves, let’s cross the line, let’s not wait for others to bring the solutions.
Bricks turned into homes, classrooms, dining halls, health care centers, workshops, gyms, computer rooms, vegetable gardens and recreational spaces are the eloquent proof of what has been done but also of what still remains to be done. Pressed by urgent needs we have expanded throughout the country. We are much more than a dining room, a home, a school, a workshop… we are a community.
Help us to continue our Work for love of the children. God loves children! Let’s pray for Him to give us the necessary Faith, Hope and Love to make every rescued child a person of dignity.
Father Julio Cesar Grassi