The Whole Story
The Sueñitos Jardin Maternal, (translated, “Little Dreams Daycare Center”), was founded in 2008 by a small group of Americans and Argentines dedicated to the welfare of the endangered children of Ciudad Oculta in Buenos Aires. These children (and their mothers-some as young as 12 years-old) live in crushing poverty in the hardened streets of a slum filled with drug abuse and crime.
At Sueñitos, these families find a safe haven, educational programs, medical care, and music, laughter and love.
This is an invitation from Friends of Ciudad Oculta to contribute toward the continuing success of the project.
Ciudad Oculta – An Overview
In 1978, the military dictatorship of Argentina faced a crisis: the World Cup was coming to Argentina and so was the world press The junta wanted to project the image of a sophisticated, cosmopolitan city and hide the ferocious poverty which was centered in the Mataderos (meat packing) section of the city. Their solution: build a wall around the slum and lock out the press. By all accounts, the strategy succeeded. But, Ciudad Oculta, the Hidden City, was born.
The unintended effect of the wall was to multiply the problems that the junta was seeking to hide. From the day the wall was completed, the police and fire departments would not enter. Criminal gangs control the area. Even now, though public utilities are provided, they are rarely serviced when they break down. Food is available at soup kitchens and food distribution locations on the edge of the area. If someone gets a job, they are robbed for their paycheck. Drug and alcohol abuse are rampant. Life within the slum breeds a profound hopelessness. Each succeeding generation has fewer role models of positive life experiences. Ultimately motivation dies.
And, rape is commonplace especially for the youngest women.
In self-defense, many girls choose to get pregnant as a strategy to become less desirable to the rapists. Girls as young as 12 years-old can be seen carrying their own child on their hip. Grandmothers under the age of thirty are commonplace.