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Villa 21


The "Pope of the slums" and Villa 21

The "Pope of the slums" and Villa 21

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  • 1. Villa 21Villa 21  Villa 21Villa 21 (Buenos Aires, Argentina) belongs(Buenos Aires, Argentina) belongs to theto the “Villas Miserias”.“Villas Miserias”.  Buenos Aires's shantytowns take several forms:Buenos Aires's shantytowns take several forms: villasvillas miseriasmiserias, or "neighborhoods of misery," the slums that -- with, or "neighborhoods of misery," the slums that -- with enough money and infrastructure improvements -- conceivablyenough money and infrastructure improvements -- conceivably could be transformed into permanent neighborhoods with fullcould be transformed into permanent neighborhoods with full services;services; casas tomadascasas tomadas, or "taken houses," usually large, or "taken houses," usually large abandoned buildings overtaken by squatters; andabandoned buildings overtaken by squatters; and asentamientosasentamientos, which translates loosely as "settlements,", which translates loosely as "settlements," primitive congregations of temporary shacks built in vulnerableprimitive congregations of temporary shacks built in vulnerable places. According to varying estimates from city agencies,places. According to varying estimates from city agencies, 300,000 to 500,000 in this city of 3 million live in the slums. [300,000 to 500,000 in this city of 3 million live in the slums. [ Washington Post articleWashington Post article.].]
  • 2. Here’s a YouTube video featuring these Shanty Towns in Buenos Aires, Argentina:
  • 3. A villa miseria is a type of shanty town or slum found in Argentina, mostly around the largest urban settlements. The term is a noun phrase made up of the Spanish words villa (village, small town) and miseria (misery, dejection). A Washington Post article has called the shanty towns “Neighborhoods of Misery”. These settlements consist of small houses or shacks made of tin, wood and other scrap material. Generally, the streets are not paved and narrow internal passages connect the different parts. The villas miserias have no sanitation system, though there may be water pipes passing through the settlement. Electric power is sometimes taken directly from the grid using illegal connections, which are perforce accepted by suppliers.
  • 4. Colegio de BuenColegio de Buen ConsejoConsejo
  • 5. In one of those Villas ―Villa 21―, the faithful of Opus Dei set up a school ―Colegio de Buen Consejo [School of Good Counsel]― to provide EDUCATION to the youngsters, so that they may move on to University to pursue various careers and, thereafter, help to lift their neighbors out of poverty, especially comrades in the villas miserias.
  • 6. This task/work has come to form part of what we call “Social Inclusion”, the effort to include the marginalized and incorporate them into mainstream society by providing them the tools necessary, primarily that of EDUCATION, so that they may uplift their own economic situation. Said one of the school principals of Bueno Consejo: “The aim is to provide the students all the tools so they may aspire to bigger/higher dreams. Their parents who bring them to our school seek not only academic objectives, but above all: satisfaction, happiness, HUMAN VALUES. I also work in this institution, and one notices the difference.”
  • 7. *Borzaga and Defourny (Eds.) (2004), The Emergence of Social Enterprise, Routledge, London. Within the “SOCIAL ENTERPRISE” * continuum: …one can situate and label the work of Colegio de Buen Consejo as “Educational Social Responsibility [ESR]”.
  • 8. VIDEO “Colegio de Buen Consejo” “Door of Inclusion”: “Educational Social Responsibility [ESR]” is a concept that augments the nearness of the schools to their environment/neighborhoods. It’s like CSR, but carried out by educational institutions (instead of corporations) In the case of Colegio Buen Consejo, the “environment” refers more specifically to the human persons living/working in the Villas.
  • 9. In a televised interview done by Infobae, some interviewees tell us: “People sometimes discriminate against us, as they think we’re delinquents just because we come from the villa.” said Melanie Velázquez, 17, 4th year. “Going to this school has CHANGED MY LIFE”, said María Ugarte, 17, 4th year.
  • 10. Around 60% of the school’s students come from within the villas. The rest are from the neighboring areas. ALL graduates are able to proceed to university studies  View the VIDEO done by Infobae, HERE:
  • 11. TheThe villas miseriavillas miseria havehave grabbed attention latelygrabbed attention lately since Cardinal Jorgesince Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, formerBergoglio, former Archbishop of BuenosArchbishop of Buenos Aires, became Pope. In aAires, became Pope. In a National CatholicNational Catholic Register article, JohnRegister article, John Allen says “Pope FrancisAllen says “Pope Francis gets his ‘oxygen’ fromgets his ‘oxygen’ from the slums”. According tothe slums”. According to Fr. Juan Isasmendi, whoFr. Juan Isasmendi, who lives and works in one oflives and works in one of thethe villasvillas, this is where, this is where the future Pope Francisthe future Pope Francis filled his lungs with thefilled his lungs with the "oxygen" he needed to"oxygen" he needed to think about what thethink about what the church ought to ought to be.
  • 12. The aim was to make the faith comeThe aim was to make the faith come alive, preaching and celebrating thealive, preaching and celebrating the sacraments while also turning thesacraments while also turning the parish into a comprehensive socialparish into a comprehensive social service center -- fighting drugs andservice center -- fighting drugs and violence, educating the young andviolence, educating the young and taking care of the old, providing jobtaking care of the old, providing job training and even community radio totraining and even community radio to give the people a voice.give the people a voice. The then Cardinal Bergoglio during a visit to the Colegio Buen Consejo located a stone’s throw away from Villa 21. 
  • 13.
  • 14. How aboutHow about you?you?  WhatWhat SOCIALSOCIAL PROJECTPROJECT willwill YOUYOU embark on?embark on? 