Mar Del Plata
As with many seaside resorts the world over, Mar del Plata is both an attractive place to visit and has social problems stemming from low full time employment rates.
It is still struggling to recover from Argentina's 2001 financial crisis, with poor education and health services for its local population.
Large proportion of people living in poverty
Mar del Plata is on the Atlantic coast and has two main elements to its economy - it is a bustling seaside resort and has a major fishing industry. With 600,000 residents, it has grown very quickly in the last ten years. Many of the 200,000 new arrivals live in poverty on the outskirts of the city, with little in the way of public amenities or services.
30% of its residents are classed as living in poverty in the city, which is three times the national average. In such circumstances many people find it hard to feed their families, which lead to social segregation and marginalisation. Children from families that struggle to make ends meet don't have the same opportunities that their better off fellows do, and sometimes need help in getting a good start in life.
Mar del Plata's street children
Street children are stigmatised in Argentine society. There are a large number of them in Mar del Plata. Many of these are on the street as their parents are unable to look after them due to their financial circumstances. This is when children are at their most vulnerable.
Recovering from the financial crash, a lot of people succeeded in getting on their feet. Many didn't, and there is a major divide between 'haves' and 'have nots' in Argentina. This is no exception in Mar del Plata.
The Argentine government has state welfare and social services but the fact that so many children end up on the streets, over a decade after the financial crisis, suggests that there is a long way to go before everyone is comfortable in the country.
How do we Help in Mar del Plata?
SOS Children's Villages arrived in Mar del Plata in 1982. This was our second Children's Village in Argentina, and is now very well established in the city. We try to prevent kids falling through the net and if they do, we help them get back on their feet.
The SOS social centre offers a family strengthening programme. This gives guidance in parenting skills and tries to ensure that children live with their parents and don't have to fend for themselves. The social centre also provides a childminding programme for the whole community. While children are being cared for in a safe place, so parents can go to work give their children better lives.
Children's Village provides hope
Where children do end up on the street, they can live in our Children's Village in an SOS family. Living with their SOS family, headed by an SOS Mother, children are sent to school and play an active part in their community.
At the point children are ready to become independent, we provide guidance and counselling, as well as shared housing through the SOS youth programme. In such a nurturing environment, so children who fell through the net can get the best possible start in life.
Your support today can give a vulnerable child in Mar Del Plata a brighter tomorrow. It's quick and easy to start your sponsorship, which can transform a young life.