Uruguay – "We've built a bond based on trust and closeness": CAIF in Salesian land in time of Covid-19

24 April 2020

(ANS - Montevideo) - Nobody escapes the impact of the coronavirus, but the most vulnerable feel the consequences of this evil that afflicts all humanity even more. Five months ago, when programs were still being made which would then be compulsorily abandoned, the CAIF (Mother and Child Care Center) "Mamma Margherita" was born on the premises of the "Domenico Savio" Institute in the Ituzaingó neighborhood. And although the regulations won't allow them to accommodate children and their families during the quarantine, the team of educators has not stopped accompanying them and continues to be attentive to their multiple needs. This is what the coordinator, Camila Gil tells us.

What children does CAIF take care of and what does it provide?

The center, by contract, serves 108 children and their families. They are families in the Ituzaingó neighborhood, where we take care of 1 and 2 year olds and their families on a daily basis. All of them are offered food, which consists of breakfast, lunch and afternoon snack, and snacks for children staying 8 hours. The CAIF proposal is to provide a space to accompany and stimulate the development of children. The work done with families is multidisciplinary.

What do you have that is different from other CAIFs?

There are some peculiarities that are already beginning to be seen and that, knowing the reality of the other centers, I can say they make it different. One of these is the presence and level of involvement of the "Domenico Savio" management team. Together, we have built a bond based on trust and closeness, which improves management and attention to children and their families. Another peculiarity of our CAIF is the project coordination role, a role that the CAIF scheme does not contemplate. The intention is to manage and guide all this according to Salesian charism. There are already those who take care of the team and who think about the long-term project together with the management of the "Domenico Savio" Institute.

How do you accompany the people of the neighborhood in these times and in this situation?

From Monday 16 March, following regulations, we stopped taking care of the children in the center and started accompanying the families by telephone. From these calls, we learned that some parents have lost their jobs or started having health problems. In cases where we have identified the greatest need, we have supported them with food, first by supplying them with the food cooked in the day, and then by delivering baskets of dry food, fruit and vegetables. Through WhatsApp we also send information on social benefits, prevention measures and emergency numbers in case of health problems or violence.


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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