You can make a difference to the children of Rosario

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It is possible to change a child’s life by sponsoring a scholarship that provides education and health care. You too can make a difference to the lives of the children of Rosario.

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Argentina’s finance has gone from one crisis to another since the Great Depression (1998–2002). Locals still remember the corralito where measures had to be taken to avoid a bank run. This led to the appearance of the unofficial dollar exchange market (known as the ‘blue’ dollar) which is noticeable through the arbolitos (men who offer the best ‘blue dollar’ exchange rates on the streets). It is evident that Argentina is still struggling to get its economy up.

You may have heard about Rosario. This is Argentina’s third largest city and birthplace of the famous Lionel Messi and of ‘Che’ Guevara. But Rosario is also infamous for being Argentina’s most violent city.

Rosario cannot absorb all the population coming from rural areas in search for work. Illiterate and without proper qualifications the majority end up not finding decent jobs and wind up in peripheral neighbourhoods condemned to live lives of scarcity and poverty. Social differences in Rosario are blatant.

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Unfortunately Rosario has also seen an increase in drug related crime in the last few years. Being in the middle of the transit routes for cocaine and other drugs, some of its poorer neighbourhoods suffer under the yoke of drug gangs. One such neighbourhood is Bella Vista.

This scenario of social injustice, drug trafficking and consequent violence affects the Barrio Bella Vista and its most vulnerable inhabitants: children and teenagers. Here we visited a social project that aims to give the kids of Bella Vista the chance to change their future for the better.

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We were glad to see a project which transmits knowledge and inspires hope in this environment. The project has been developed with the support of the Luxembourgish non-profit organisation Hëllef fir Rosario in cooperation with AMAP (Asociación Mutual de Ayuda al Projimo), their local partner.

The AMAP runs a project based on scholarships. All students can apply for a beca (a scholarship) which is sponsored by an individual. The student knows who is sponsoring his studies and regularly reports his results to his sponsor by means of written letters. The sponsor also knows his student and usually the exchange of letters becomes bi-directional.

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Besides the scholarship project, the AMAP have acquired 5 houses, financed by Hëllef fir Rosario, (Casas Luxemburgo) where they offer workshops on several subjects, such as masonry, cooking, baking and others. One of the casas has got a medical centre where a dentist and a doctor come a few times a week for consultations. Locals can use the medical centre for free and there is also a free vaccination programme. In another house over 100 pre-scholar children attend school so their moms can go to work. This house also comprises a youth club and a library and all children receive a hot meal per day. All these services are free for the local children.

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We understood the extent of the success of these projects when we learnt that an important part of the team running the organisation nowadays is made of former becados, who were sponsored through AMAP and Hëllef fir Rosario themselves in the past. They have managed to finish their studies, get university degrees and are now role models for the kids coming to the Casa Luxemburgo everyday.

More infos at Hëllef fir Rosario

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