Argentina – Pibes de Don Bosco (Don Bosco Boys), an idea which is spreading

18 August 2016

(ANS - Bahía Blanca) - It's been 15 years since the social and educational project "Pibes de Don Bosco" (Don Bosco Boys) finally took shape. Since then this work has grown and has also managed to attract many people. It was with the 2001 crisis and the proliferation of homeless people and "cartoneros" (people who collect newspapers and cardboard from the rubbish dump) that the idea came of ​​providing accommodation, support and food for people in need.

The project was started at the request of Fr Pablo Mardoni, SDB, from the Don Bosco Institute of Bahia Blanca. He began the work with a small group of teachers and students. Later they were joined constantly by people from nearby districts.

For the Don Bosco Boys  the idea has grown by now that meals are only an "excuse" to go to meet one another, and the focus is not only on giving accommodation to vulnerable groups, but also on their inner growth. "It is a concept that corresponds to the ideas of Don Bosco who was doing the same with the street people 200 years ago," says Agustín Cavero, one of the volunteers.

Today the Pibes work in four areas - the street, the playground, the oratory and the homes.

The work on the street has two parts. On Tuesday evenings they bring food to about 30 people on the street and they exchange a few words with them. Then on Friday a meal is provided at the school for a large number of children and adults from three poor areas nearby. Everything is prepared by different groups of parents.

The playground:  On Friday afternoons about 150 people gather for various recreational and sports activities, finishing up with a moment of reflection.

The oratory is typically Salesian. It opens on Saturday afternoons in the chapel of San Dionisio. "For the young people it is a regular event, like school, and this makes us very proud," says Gastón Ruppel, one of the coordinators.

Finally, the homes meet both a material and an affective need. We build homes for people who are living in precarious circumstances. "By now we have learned to act as masons and we teach newcomers.  It is very interesting," says Agustín. "We provide the material as far as possible, sometimes through donations, but often from the pockets of our families,” says Gastón. “We work from a single standard plan for the bedroom, kitchen and bathroom, always in partnership with the family that will receive it."

Source: La Nueva



ANS - “Agenzia iNfo Salesiana” is a on-line almost daily publication, the communication agency of the Salesian Congregation enrolled in the Press Register of the Tibunal of Rome as n 153/2007.

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