Located on the Atlantic coast, Mar del Plata is home to 614,000 inhabitants. This major fishing port and international seaside beach resort has also seen its periphery become a belt of poverty over the past decades.Here, the contrast between tourists and locals is particularly stark, with vacationers enjoying the beaches and facilities while the employment rate, education structure and health system have not recovered from the economic crisis of 2002.
Since 1982, SOS Children’s Villages has been supporting children, young people and families and advocating for their rights in Mar del Plata.
Like everywhere in the country, but perhaps even more visibly here, the divide between rich and poor is pronounced in Mar del Plata.
With seven million children suffering from poverty across the nation, and two million of them living in extreme poverty, in households whose income cannot cover their minimum basic food needs, it is the future of Argentina that is at stake.
These circumstances lead to social segregation and marginalization, which can have a profound impact on the future of those children. Families need more support so that children and young people can hope for a better future.
In Mar del Plata and in all of the Buenos Aires region, 18 per cent of young people do not attend upper secondary school – the national average is 14 per cent. In addition, the average number of schooling years stands at 11 years in the Buenos Aires province for 12 years of national average. These numbers are all indicators of the educational challenges in the area.
Without further education, the local children and young people won’t acquire the skills necessary to access workplace opportunities. In time, this will stop them from making a better life for themselves and their families.