Argentine cooperatives to build bridges to those most affected by the crisis

The Puentes Network has seen its work multiplied since the end of last August the crisis in Argentina intensified, where they provide food and all kinds of assistance to homeless people with problems of addiction, an increasingly widespread evil in the country.

In Argentina more than a third of the population lives below the poverty line, a statistic that rises to 50% for children, and according to a census conducted by various social organizations more than 7,200 people live on the street in the city from Buenos Aires, of which more than 800 are children.

With this context, the work of entities such as this cooperative, which has been offering food and social assistance to homeless people in the more than 20 homes it has throughout the country, has gained great importance for eight years.

In one of these houses, located in the neighborhood of Flores, a few meters from the villa 1-11-14 (one of the largest in Buenos Aires), about 20 people attend Monday to Friday to participate in the "living together" , which includes three meals (breakfast, lunch and snack), workshops and a space to share experiences and thoughts.

"A territorial test is done and what is proposed is that all people who are in a situation of consumption or having some type of street situation, who do not have a place to look for food, approach the house and what they propose the house is a coexistence for a treatment, "said Efe Marian López, head of the center and one of the many social workers who, along with psychologists and all kinds of professionals, make up the cooperative.

The house opens its doors from Monday to Friday from nine in the morning to six in the afternoon, although "in case the person needs" a dinner is offered to take away and activities are organized so that they can do on the weekend .

The food they use is received through donations made by the social canteens in the area, which contributes to "each house is solvent with the territory that is nearby."

Poverty has multiple edges that translate from more obvious problems, such as food shortages or destitution, to more underlying ones such as the increase in drug addiction and the proliferation of new substances at increasingly lower prices to attract a social class of income almost void

"It is a matter of class, the rich consume the rich (drug) and the resin remains for the poor," added Lopez, who has worked tirelessly in a house that has increased its influx since the five people with the They started working until almost 30.

In the most popular areas they find themselves mainly with what they call "extermination drugs", and mainly they are alcohol, cocaine and base paste (cocaine residues).

The consumption of these substances occurs at an increasingly early age, especially linked to the concept of "survival" that crosses the homeless, increasing what in the organization known as "consumption line", a mechanism that leads to the most young people to work as "soldiers" of traffickers who pay in kind to their young consumers.

The Puentes Network offers a more inclusive treatment than traditional methods, in which they avoid any type of "stigmatization" and offer individual therapies that respect that "each person has a different history".

Its operation is based on knowledge of the land, in which they seek people who may need your help and invite them to the house, in which they can integrate into the activities they want.

The dining room and group therapies are the most frequented, while others generate more resistance such as theater or dance workshops, since they include physical contact and can violate the shell of a people who often have problems trusting others.

This cooperative is one of the many social organizations that fight every day to fight poverty in a country that lives so pending economic indicators that it can forget a problem that is increasingly latent in the streets of the country.

"The houses explode," López concludes.

Aitor Pereira

. (tagsToTranslate) Argentine Cooperatives (t) (t) build (t) bridges (t) affected

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