Argentina: mutual support

Kolping Families in Argentina are not allowing the COVID-19 pandemic or the omnipresent economic crisis to drag them down. This is what Kolping sister Sabine Brummel experienced while traveling Argentina at the end of February 2024. She visited several Kolping Families in the metropolitan area of Buenos Aires and was impressed by the joy of life and the great spirit of community and solidarity in Kolping Families. Here is her report:

“Argentina is known from the media for its long-lasting economic crisis and high inflation rates of sometimes more than 200%. The extremely high inflation leads to the impoverishment of large sections of the population and exacerbates social problems. Help is therefore urgently needed in many places. Kolping Families are providing active support and lend a helping hand wherever they can!



Help for disadvantaged families

For example, with a soup kitchen or by providing childcare and tutoring, but also with projects where women are taught to paint so that they can sell their paintings to improve their livelihoods. At the Nuestra Casa Center in the Bernal neighbourhood, Kolping works together with other NGOs. Volunteers, especially from the Bernal Kolping Family, support the social workers there. Every day, meals are prepared for around 350 people. The center is also a place for people with psychological problems to go to but also for those who need help in dealing with authorities or medical care. The children of working and single parents are looked after in the afternoons and receive help with their homework.



Craftsmanship is supported

In order to provide financial support, Kolping members sell handicrafts, among other things. Impressive handicraft projects are run by Kolping Families in the urban districts of Bernal, Varela and Quilmes. Sewing, handicraft and cooking skills are taught in courses. People meet regularly, and of course they also have plenty of fun.

The Bernal Kolping Family even runs a workshop for renovating upholstered furniture. Here, armchairs, chairs and sofas are given new covers and new upholstery. The business is so successful that the workshop manager has now been able to take on the former apprentice as an employee! Furniture is professionally restored here in an extremely small space. Lots of customer inquiries still have to be processed.



Touch and Feel books for children with an autism disorder  

The Kolping Family Maria Peregrina has a special project in the Vernal district: Here, Kolping Families have created a “touch and feel book” and other sensory learning materials for children with an autism spectrum disorder. Based on the Montessori method, autistic children between the ages of two and five can solve small tasks. Besides training the understanding of concrete contexts, this book also trains fine motor skills and the differentiation of colours and shapes. This requires investment in a workroom, sewing machines and materials. The sale of the touch and feel books could also be used to support affected families in financing special therapies. The Kolping Family has already drawn up a detailed project plan and is highly motivated to get started.



Offers for the young and old – and a radio program

The Kolping Family in Quilmes Oeste organizes meetings for elderly people. This actively and energetically counteracts loneliness in old age. Impressive handicrafts are also created here, such as cases and clothing, which are sold at a monthly market. Apart from sewing courses, the Kolping Family in Quilmes Oeste also offers make-up and guitar classes which are also attractive for young people.

Last but not least there is also the Kolping radio programme in CABA (La Hora Kolping) that reports on Kolping Families and their projects not only from the Buenos Aires metropolitan area, but also from other regions in Argentina and, of course, on the life and work of Father Adolph Kolping. Greetings are also sent to Kolping members worldwide via the radio. In keeping with our motto “We are Kolping“!

All in all, it is extremely gratifying and motivating to receive such a loving and friendly welcome in a foreign country from Kolping sisters and brothers and to see that the Kolping community is full of life and that the ideas of Adolph Kolping are being put into practice.”