Argentina is one of the southernmost countries in South America. Though it boasts a 98% literacy rate, a solid public healthcare system and one of the most robust economies in all of South America, it suffers from a high national poverty rate and concerns in the healthcare and education sectors. Both the government and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) must work to improve the living conditions for Argentinian citizens. Here is an overview of the country’s poverty situation and a few impressive charities operating in Argentina.
Argentina’s Poverty Situation
In 2011, the population in urban centers had an estimated poverty rate of 12.2% (earning less than $5.50 per day). However, a national economic recession in 2018 combined with the financial toll of the COVID-19 pandemic led to the sharpest increase in poverty in Argentina in recent decades. Approximately 41% of the urban population now falls below the national poverty line.
Beyond high poverty, Argentina struggles with inequalities in key sectors including education and health care. Though Argentina has a relatively strong education system, there is a trend of high dropout rates and low college attendance as well as a steep inequality in education quality between urban and rural areas. Similarly, though Argentina has universal health care, it is decentralized, creating a large discrepancy in the quality of care. In particular, healthcare access is either poor or absent in more rural, remote areas of the country. These issues call for help from a variety of charities operating in Argentina.
4 Helpful NGOs Operating in Argentina
- Sumando Manos Foundation: One NGO doing great work in improving nutrition and health care in Argentina is the Sumando Manos Foundation. The organization has helped more than 7,000 children and their communities since its founding in 2005. It does this by “providing food and critical medical and dental attention and teaching fundamental health care.” Sumando Manos operates by visiting the same communities over a span of many years. Common dental problems and nutritional deficiencies have decreased by more than half in the communities that Sumando Manos serves. That is tangible evidence of Sumando Manos’s strong impact.
- La Casa Ronald de Argentina: McDonald’s humanitarian healthcare initiative in Argentina, La Casa Ronald de Argentina, provides support for families with young family members who have cancer and other complex care needs. Specifically, La Casa Ronald provides rooms within hospitals and houses where families can stay with their children while they receive medical care. This is an incredibly important service in Argentina where most quality medical care is located in urban centers and families have to temporarily migrate to accommodate the situation. Casa Ronald also has a Healthy Habits Unit that promotes healthy lifestyle choices and a Wellness Unit that provides snacks and books to families during their long days at the hospital. Since its founding in Argentina in 1998, Casa Ronald has provided nearly $37 million to 280,000 children and families facing healthcare emergencies
- Fundacion Leer: A third organization improving the quality of life in Argentina is Fundacion Leer. It is dedicated to providing educational resources throughout the country with the goal of 100% literacy for children across Argentina. In operation for over 25 years, its impact is no doubt a part of the literacy rate increasing from 93.9% in 1980 to 98.1% in 2015. In its time, Fundacion Leer has provided more than 2.5 million children with assistance in learning to read and write, more than 2.5 million books to educational institutions and trained 27,613 adults to teach basic literacy skills.
- Cåritas Argentina: Cåritas Argentina, an institution of the Catholic Church, exists to reduce poverty and improve the quality of life in Argentina. The organization provides direct aid, but also more central to its mission, its 40,000 volunteers provide emotional and spiritual support for vulnerable families. As its website explains, “The challenge is not only to provide food or shelter, but to accompany families and be the gateway to listen, contain, organize and plan tasks that stimulate human development.” Cåritas Argentina works in many sectors including early childhood education, addiction prevention and food response. Two specific examples of achievements include helping 5,300 families construct and maintain their own homes through its Habitat initiative and maintaining a network of 180 inclusive educational spaces.
These charities operating in Argentina fight poverty reduction by giving citizens skills, opportunities and services essential for success in life.
– Xander Heiple