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LN – Nearly 8 million children are poor in Argentina

EYE OF WATER, Río Negro.- Angie Cheuquellán is seven years old and lives in a precarious house in Laguna Blanca, a spot on the south line of Río Negro. He is dressed in a jacket to leave his house for the latrine, 10 meters away. He puts on the hood, hugs himself to protect himself from the wind and the cheeks are injected with red for the -5 ° they make. That, walking on the snow, is your only option to go to the bathroom in winter. She embodies what almost eight million Argentine boys face every day: a poor childhood. Poor economic resources, poor access to basic services. And poor of opportunities.

According to the latest report of the Barometer of the Social Debt of Children, 62.5% of minors up to 17 years old have some of their rights violated. The figure is for 2017 and represents a 2% increase compared to 2016, reaching the highest level since 2013.

The number, based on the multidimensional approach to poverty, exceeds the official figures, which only consider the economic aspect, and indicate that 39.7% of children under 14 years of age are poor in income and 4.8% They are destitute.

“This government has as a priority to reduce poverty in our country, the first step in this sense was to speak up, to speak truthfully, and we believe that recognizing the problem is the only way to begin to solve it,” said the Minister of Social Nation, Carolina Stanley.

Aware of these urgencies, La Nación launched Hambre de Futuro, a project to make visible how the children of the most vulnerable communities live and what they dream about. In the next five months will show, on all platforms, how are these children.

The project also tries to pose potential solutions to the problems faced by the children and show what actions are already underway.

In the survey of the UCA, in addition to the income necessary to survive, indexes linked to food, health, housing, socialization spaces and access to new technologies are measured, among others.

“It is clear that we still have very significant outstanding debts, that the challenges are superlative and we are far from an effective exercise of children's rights,” explained Ianina Tuñón, coordinator of the Children's Barometer of the Catholic University of Argentina.

From the Ministry of Social Development, Stanley argues that “poverty is much more than a number, men, women, boys, girls, families going through a situation of vulnerability that they can not get out of. The emergency questions us, but we also need work on programs that can help each of these families to finally get out of this situation. ” Since taking office, the government claims to have priority in early childhood. “To give you equal opportunities, because the future of our country depends on them.” This is to understand poverty in all its dimensions and to know that education and work are the two fundamental pillars that allow each child to get out of the situation of poverty, “says the minister.

These privations manifest themselves in different ways in each of the corners of the country. In Patagonia, for example, they are linked to cold and isolation. In Cuyo, however, they are noticeable in the oblivion of the peoples that are in risk of disappearing and in the rupture of the local economies. In the Impenetrable Chaqueño, what is most needed is food and water.

“Years ago we argued that child poverty is a pending debt: it is time to take action, and for that we need to dimension the problem and make it visible, analyze the deprivations suffered by the children, know the places where they live, their dreams and his projects, is to embody inequality and translate statistics into proper names “, says Sebastián Waisgrais, specialist in
Monitoring and Social Inclusion of Unicef ​​Argentina.

For him, when only monetary poverty is measured, vital dimensions are left out, such as the health controls of the mother and her educational level, but also others related to the free time of the boys. “Multidimensional measurement is vital to develop public policies that, in addition to making direct monetary transfers, contemplate actions focused on other dimensions such as sanitation or exposure to violence,” adds Waisgrais.

José Sandovare is 15 years old and lives in the Las Talas settlement, 5 kilometers from the city of Caucete, in San Juan. Neither his mother nor his father finished school. In his house, he does not have electricity or water, so he has to take the canal one or put together the one left by the municipality. But what most desperate is that none of their parents has a job and survive with the AUH. He, like so many children in the country, has part of his mortgaged future.

“What are the worst situations for a child? When your father or mother does not have a job because the AUH, or any plan, takes you out of poverty but not poverty,” says Waisgrais.

The bad news is that the current situation contributes to deepening the gaps. Experts agree that the recession, inflation, devaluation and the increase in rates will have a negative correlation in poverty levels.

“Income poverty is bound to have another rebound, the other indicators have a slow evolution, and it is clearly large-scale policies that change the statistics, and what you see is that inequalities in the country, “says Tuñón.

The same negative tendency is shared by Unicef. “When we have these cimbronazos, the structural poor are the most affected because they have less chance of defending themselves,” explains Waisgras.

Even the government recognizes that although 2018 started with a fall in poverty, some forecasts indicate that this trend could be slowed down. “This has to do with a difficult floor to penetrate, as intergenerational poverty,” explained from Social Development.

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Publicado en el diario La Nación