The dormitory inaugurated yesterday mainly targets people who are homeless and who, due to various circumstances, do not want to enter other more structured centers. It is an initiative that involves collaboration “with organizations that know the people who live on the street, with whom they have a bond of trust: for this reason they are ready to accept to spend the night in these dormitories,” continues Mr. Malvárez. “There is a relational component that makes the difference,” explained Juan José Malvárez, a Salesian past pupil, now an official of the National Directorate for Social Protection of MIDES.
"La Olla de Villa Colón" was created five years ago by a group of young people from the SYM of Villa Colón, formed to help the homeless. Every Friday evening from March to December, its members prepare a good plate of hearty food, and go to meet those who live on the street. Food, however, is only a pretext: it serves to build bonds and to be able to listen to them, accompany them, remind them of their dignity, and gradually give them all the help they need. This year, for example, with the collaboration of MIDES they have helped the homeless to get vaccinated against Covid-19 and have favored other more regular meetings, of sociality, such as watching the national football team matches together, to prepare them for this new proposal.
Yesterday’s inauguration was attended by Fr Alfonso Bauer, Provincial of the Salesians in Uruguay, MP Fernanda Araújo, MIDES officials, young people from "La Olla de Villa Colón", and Salesians from the "Pio IX community".
“This proposal arose two months ago. We did tests to meet the homeless all together in one place, to test mutual coexistence, and when we told them about this proposal they exploded with joy,” said Juan Pablo Paipó, one of the young people from "La Olla de Villa Colon".
MIDES minister, Martin Lema, was unable to attend in person, but sent a message to the young people in which he thanked them for the "meticulous" work they do.
The dormitory is located at the entrance of the huge property that houses the Pius IX institute, in a house that was specially renovated with the collaboration of the Salesian community and other benefactors. Its new inhabitants now find beds with new mattresses and pillows, blankets, warm jackets and "a detail" that did not go unnoticed: each bed had the name of the person who would occupy it on it.
Because the treatment of guests must be truly personalized, as is customary in Salesian environments.