ARGENTINA, by Maria Fischer •
“One has to know how many are at the table, so everyone gets their meal.” My small friend looked at me with her great big eyes and irresistible smile, while she places a bowl on the table that I share with her and three more children. “There is enough for everyone,” she explained. “Because we always have to think about everyone.” Before going down to the dining room, she takes the task she assumed of introducing the “new one, this lady from Germany, who along with Claudia Echenique, from Buenos Aires, is visiting their Mary of Nazareth Children’s Home at Villa Ballester.
We said grace, we ate – it was delicious – and we talked about what it meant to them to spend the day at this very welcoming home with so many details that not only show the professionalism of the director of Casa Nino, Graciela Klobovs and her team; but also the affection they have for the children.
We continued with pastries. My small friend looked at me. She said, “There is enough for everyone, and they are delicious.” The gleam in her eyes is like those of a homemaker at a banquet for her husband’s boss, who came to dinner and who receives the boss’ compliment, “they are delicious.”
My friend did not leave my side throughout the visit; she explained everything, and she told me about her family, her friends at this home, and about her dreams…
We believe that every child should have access to the same opportunities so that they can develop.
The Children’s Home is a daycare where children ages 2 to 14, who live in a slum, 9 de Julio, Villa Ballester, in the Greater Buenos Aires area, are accompanied daily. They truly find a home here, where they have the opportunity to get out of marginalized and violent situations.
The project was born in 1993, when a Schoenstatt Apostolic Movement group proposed carrying out social work in the area. The San Martín Diocese loaned them the place where the home operates.
They work with a teaching staff specialized in the Montessori pedagogical method. The volunteers, who collaborate in the Children’s Home, identify with the project, and they offer all their knowledge to the children, whether in daily activity, the computer lab, arts and crafts, or art.
Several neighborhood parents help out at the Home.
“Our main objective is that our children discover and develop their manual and intellectual abilities. This discovery strengthens their self-esteem, it awakens their dreams and desires, and it encourages them to think about a different and positive academic and/or work future for their lives,” explains Tita Rodriguez of the Family Federation and president of the Children’s Home.
“Many children are denied the opportunity to develop all their potential because their family is poor or living in a marginalized neighborhood, they have poor nutrition, or even because of their appearance. We believe any child should have access to the same opportunities to develop and to grow in a harmonious and happy environment,” commented Graciela Klobovs. Currently two German youths from Munich are volunteering at the Children’s Home through Fr. Hanz-Martin Samietz’s, National Advisor of the Schoenstatt Boys’ Youth of Germany, mediation. For them, just as for so many other youths who have been here before, it is an experience that changes their life.
C5N interviewed them with the title, In the Right Place: German Youths in solidarity.
The German volunteers dedicated themselves to a carpentry project among other tasks. Recently they offered a first bench that everyone help to make– it is a wooden bench, painted blue, and it is for the “sale of solidarity.” What is collected from this sale is destined to buy materials and tools to continue with this project giving the boys the opportunity to learn the basic things about the beautiful trade of carpentry.
The Buenos Aires Schoenstatt Youth also collaborate with the works of solidarity at the Children’s Home, such as painting the Home.
Before the meal with the children, Graciela Klobovs and Nazareth Rodríguez de Bella showed us the house. We went through the kitchen, the classrooms with their Montessori pedagogical material, the children’s playground, the dining hall, and then we met with the children in a large classroom.
We were very embarrassed when they asked a German volunteer and me to sing the German National Anthem. Thank goodness that it occurred to me to ask them to sing the Argentinean National Anthem and declared them the winners of the “competition.” They laughed, they sang some more songs, and we were in an optimal atmosphere to share their stories, their dreams, and their experiences at this home.
“Our vision is that every child, every family that approaches our home, finds a home, can acquire the tools necessary to live a more worthy and just life, and can find their own originality and feel valued. It is sensed, and it is proven.
An article in “La Nación”
It is also felt in the article published a few weeks ago in La Nación, a newspaper from Buenos Aires, which helped greatly to give visibility to all that is done for the little ones.
“The Children’s Home Civil Association is a daycare that accompanies approximately 90 children ages 2-14 and their families from vulnerable neighborhoods of the San Martín district. Its mission is that they truly find a home, where they can acquire the tools necessary for a worthy life, feeling valued.
Before an ever increasing demand – which for now, there is no response- the challenge of this association is to obtain funds to expand its facilities and to hire more teachers.
To cover part of their expenses, the home depends on the contributions of donors and funds raised in events for its benefit. However, the needs are many and the funds are insufficient.
“We have a great demand of families, who want to bring their children, but for now we cannot receive more because we lack personnel and space,” said Graciela Klobovs, director of the entity. “We need the support of sponsors to hire teachers or professionals for the workshops; to expand the place; to add more classrooms, and repair the pipes and floors among other things,” she added.
READ THE ENTIRE ARTICLE (spanish)
Be a part of it
“My children spent their entire childhood at the home,” a mother commented. “Beautiful people, I love all of those who helped me, those who sustained me, words cannot express my gratitude for so much love, thank you…”
I have to bid farewell to my small friend and her companions. How many times, how many years, we have asked for donations for this home, for these children, in the prayer of the Illuminated Rosary in Germany – this beautiful way to pray the rosary born here in Villa Ballester. It was a way to express gratitude for the place…
I looked in the pocket of my slacks. It is little, but it is something. I want to be a part of this project, this work of mercy in the shadow of the Villa Ballester Shrine.
CASA DEL NIÑO Maria de Nazareth – schoenstatt org on Vimeo. Production: Claudia Echenique, Buenos Aires.
?To be a part of Mary of Nazareth Children’s Home, you can donate here: https://donaronline.org/casa-del-nino-maria-de-nazaret/los-chicos-de-la-casa-del-nino-maria-de-nazareth-te-necesitan
Casa del Niño Maria de Nazaret – Website: http://www.casadelninomaria.com.ar/
Original: Spanish. Translation: Celina M. Garza, San Antonio, TX USA. Edited: Melissa Peña-Janknegt, Elgin, TX USA