Two young boys from the Qom minority in Chaco, Argentina. Chaco is one of the poorest provinces in the country, and life is a struggle at best.
To our regular readers and supporters, the relief efforts in Haiti continue as the remnants of hurricane Matthew are far reaching and hurtful. We will move away from that disaster and tell you about another. We still need to attach resources to the Haitian relief efforts, consider a gift. Now on to Argentina where we have been working 44 years, even longer than we have been in Haiti.
There are around a million people belonging to various indigenous groups in Argentina. All protected by the constitution and various laws. Unfortunately, these laws are seldom enforced. People are evicted from their homes for no reason, bullied in school and at workplaces.The situation has improved but way to slow.
One can read on the internet, "Argentina is a highly developed country with an enormous variety of opportunities for those who visit." This is in strong contrast to the real income poverty plaguing the nation. So sad for a nation that was one of the richest and most powerful just 100 years ago. In fact, Argentina as a country, reached 32% in poverty levels it is reported from the first data release from Argentinean government in three years".
"Knowing that one in three Argentines find themselves below the poverty line is something that has to hurt us, something that has to make us angry, and that has to get us to commit to working together," President Mauricio Macri said he was sworn on December 10th, 2015.
It would be more work than enough if we worked in a place where the poverty level was 32 percent. The sad truth and even more shocking as we work in a the Chaco province where the poverty level is 54 percent.
Chaco province in red.
Star of Hope has worked in Argentina since the early 70s. The work has from the start been to help poor and vulnerable people from indigenous communities. In particular minority Toba (also called Qom), but also others in the province of Chaco. Our work is well advanced through a variety of efforts and investments. We continuously see our children, graduating school with better health and better education. The educations can absolutely be applied to higher education, however, there are many who still need our help. The economy in Chaco is underdeveloped and is the third poorest of all provinces in Argentina.
Is this your normal?
The economy is now mixed, but the important agricultural sector has been severely hit in recent decades by economic and natural forces. It affects the majority of the Toba people since many have been working in this sector. Since more than 50% of the population in the Chaco live in poverty it affects the children the most. Also, one in six children aged 2-5 years are at risk of malnutrition and many families still live in houses built of mud, branches, and corrugated tin.
The situation is summed up in one insightful paragraph by Alan H. Fleischmann of laurelstrategies.com;
Argentina’s economic history has been complex and heartbreaking. After being one of the world’s most powerful economies in the early decades of the 20th century, Argentina has suffered through endless boom and bust cycles. The country is blessed with a bounty of natural resources, but a variety of factors – including governmental mismanagement – have kept the country from reaching its full economic potential.
The province has not kept up with the developments in the country, unfortunately. Star of Hope's work makes a difference and is important in the short and long term. But much more must and should be done to lift the hardest hit up out of the misery.
We will be talking about Argentina for the next few days as we have our photojournalist Dennis Thern on location. Many exciting projects are in need and here is just one that is inexpensive, easy and gives on and on.