Buenos Aires (Agenzia Fides) - "The measures put in place by the Argentine government to stop the spread of coronavirus, if on the one hand have been effective in protecting the population, on the other have created enormous economic and social problems: there is a strong impact on popular sectors, on workers, on low-income families in the peripheral neighborhoods of big cities". This is what Fr. Ariel Fresia, Salesian coadjutor and director of the Argentine Mission Office "Por los Jóvenes-Don Bosco" said in an interview with Agenzia Fides.
The situation in the poorest areas of Buenos Aires is of concern. About a third of the cases in the city are concentrated in these areas, where, however, there is a much faster growth of the infection. The latest report from the Ministry of Health has revealed that, more than ten days after the end of the last lockdown, Argentina has exceeded 100,000 cases, with over 50,000 infected in the urban agglomeration of the capital alone.
In the context of the Covid-19 emergency, the Salesian Mission Offices are carrying out a coordinated response. "We Salesians here in Argentina - reports Fr. Freesia - started working to send food and items for personal and community hygiene". "Por los Jóvenes" is a social, educational and pastoral organization focused on the development of youth: "Through initiatives carried out with boys and girls across the country - explains the Director - we promote inclusion from a prevention point of view, according to the pedagogy developed by St. John Bosco and the transmission of Christian values, which are the pillars of our work. Although in this period our traditional activities have been affected due to the ongoing health emergency, we are continuing to work with individual benefactors, in synergy with institutions and companies, which continue to be generous, despite the difficulties. We have also launched a national campaign to coordinate national communication and donations for the most needy".
Regarding the reality of the Salesian youth movement in Argentina, Fr Fresia says that it is projected towards a "popular youth pastoral", as Pope Francis indicated in the apostolic exhortation "Christus vivit": "We need to make room - he underlines - for a more wide and flexible pastoral that stimulates in the different places where young people actually move. We hope that after this pandemic - concludes the Salesian - projects can be strengthened that accompany and direct young people to meet others, to generous service, in particular towards those who live in situations of poverty and vulnerability". (ES) (Agenzia Fides, 18/7/2020)