In the area of the “Meseta de Chubut” the climate is hostile, with scorching summers and frosty winters. The few inhabitants are grouped in three different types of settlement: 5 small centres with a school, 3 villages with a population inferior to 1,000 people, and 7 communities entirely made up of Mapuche, a local ethnic group that comprises the majority of the entire population of the plateau, a proud people that donated to the Salesian Family one of the most beautiful examples of juvenile sanctity: Ceferino Namuncurà.
Salesians are present in the region since the early 20th century and over the years they have undertaken many initiatives to the benefit of the Mapuche: they help them improve cattle breeding techniques, which is their main source of sustenance; they carry out a project of drilling and water canalization, in a territory where water is scarce; they care for the safeguard and protection of the environment in an area where mining resources constitute a great interest for multinational companies; they organize courses of vocational training and pastoral activities for adults, young people and children in various villages and camps.
In general, they travel untiringly to bring help and the word of God to all the Mapuche communities of the plateau, with a particular attention to the youth and the children.
Today the Salesian point of reference in the territory is Fr. Antonio Sánchez, who besides being the spiritual guide of the community and working for the human promotion of the Mapuche, is also committed to helping them in preserving and valuing their identity.
The Salesian presence among the Mapuche is supported by the Association Missioni Don Bosco of Turin.