By: The Salesian Social Network of America
Currently, around 33% of the population across the Americas live on less than 2 dollars a day and unemployment has increased to 10.7% of the economically active population, decreasing the labor participation mainly of women, informal workers, young people and migrants. Furthermore, poverty gaps persist in rural areas, indigenous peoples, Afro-descendants and children. This social inequality drastically affects access to opportunities and the exercise of the rights of girls, boys, adolescents and young people.
Poverty is a multidimensional condition that makes integral and sustainable human development impossible, thus generating social exclusion. According to the Global Multidimensional Poverty Index Report (2021), millions of people live deprived by lack of schooling, difficulty in accessing clean water, undernourishment, lack of electricity, exposure to cooking with wood and solid fuels, inadequate sanitation, no housing, etc. Worldwide, around half of the people living in poverty are under 18 years of age, which means that 1 in 3 children live in precarious conditions in terms of health, education and standard of living.
In Latin America, the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated this phenomenon due to overcrowding, population density, lack of access to basic services, school closings, inequality in virtual learning conditions, unemployment and social exclusion. These risk factors have increased poverty levels to the point of considering that, as a region, we have fallen back 12 years in poverty and 20 years in extreme poverty.
The Salesian response
As Salesians, we respond to situations of vulnerability generated by poverty in 134 countries around the world. Father Hugo Orozco, SDB and Regional for Inter-America, states that “poverty is not a reality that exists by itself (…) it is up to us to not only suffer it as if we could not do anything, but to identify it and find different ways to change it ». In this sense, through our Salesian works, programs and services in the 22 countries of the Americas that are part of the Salesian Social American Network, we provide both preventive and crisis care to children, adolescents, youth and their families, in order to contribute to their integral development, just as Don Bosco did in his time. Among the services offered we find:
- Crisis shelter
- Legal advice
- Psychosocial care
- Family counseling, spiritual
- School reintegration y academic remediation
- Medical care
- Job training and placement
- Sports, recreational and cultural activities
- Revalidation of Studies
- Leisure spaces
- Social skills development
Let’s do it!
In order to contribute to the eradication of poverty, it is necessary that, as nations, we move towards a State that promotes and guarantees universal, comprehensive and sustainable systems of social protection. Health, social and economic measures must be articulated to close the structural poverty gaps and, in this digital world, seek the universalization of technologies and internet access.
On a personal level, we have the call to open our hearts and our eyes to the conditions that marginalize and violate the rights of the people. Let us seek to have a more critical view of this reality, and in each of our contexts, live the Gospel in a concrete way through the defense of human dignity and the continuous denunciation of these situations of inequality.
We are the Network of social works and services for children, adolescents, and youth in a situation of high risk of social exclusion across the Americas. We are present in 18 provinces and 22 countries throughout the continent, with our central headquarters in Quito, Ecuador.
Connect with us on our social media:
Facebook: América Social Salesiana
YouTube: América Social Salesiana
Whatsapp: +593 963 637 186
SOURCES: Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC, 2021)
The 2021 Global Multidimensional Poverty Index (UNDP & OPHI, 2021)