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