RMG – Innovation and Salesian resilience in times of Covid-19

12 August 2020

(ANS - RMG) - Strengthening mutual learning through the exchange of knowledge is part of the joint work developed by "América Social Salesiana", the Network of Salesian Social Works and Services for young people at risk in the Interamerica Region. An online meeting was held on Tuesday 4 August on the theme: “Experiences and challenges in the educational-pastoral work of the Salesian Social Works during the pandemic”. It was attended by 27 representatives of 14 Provinces (including officers and directors of social works and the Delegates for Youth Ministry). Through a participatory teamwork methodology, they shared and socialized the socio-educational experiences used to respond to the needs of the most vulnerable segments of the population during the Covid-19 health emergency, and identified the challenges they face in this new circumstance.

During the two-hour meeting, the adaptability that Salesian social works have in the face of adversity was highlighted. A great resource was the participation of the representatives of the Provinces of the United States-East, United States-West, Mexico-Guadalajara, Mexico-México, Mexico-Guadalajara, Central America, Antilles, Haiti, Colombia-Medellin, Colombia-Bogotà, Venezuela, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia and Chile.

Each Country has lived and experienced the pandemic differently, but the common denominator has been the commitment to stand by those who need help most. Salesian works have modified their daily work, generating immediate actions to respond to emerging needs, including: the continuation of academic activities and distance psychological support for young people and their families; the delivery of food to families left out of work; medical and basic needs assistance through collaboration with other institutions; use of communication resources such as radio, social networks and digital platforms to carry out the various educational and pastoral processes; as well as adaptation of physical spaces to new security measures.

Some innovative initiatives were also highlighted, such as the creation of agro-ecological fairs to promote a family-based economy in rural areas, or even innovative summer camps and numerous other activities that have mobilized local and international solidarity, with the support of Salesian NGOs.

Looking at the challenges, the participants agreed that the main ones are: the search for resources to continue to operate effectively, the training of staff in educational resources appropriate to the current context, and the standardization of databases to streamline processes, among other things.

"The value of teamwork and the sharing of experiences strengthens us as a Network," said Fr Juan Carlos Quirarte, Coordinator of "América Social Salesiana".

During the meeting, the closeness and active involvement of the directors, those in charge of social works and the delegates of youth ministry were much felt, elements that allow us to look to the future with optimism and with good expectations towards regional projects that strengthen the quality of Salesian response in the Americas.


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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