CRS History in Argentina
Toward the end 2001, Argentina fell into a state of extreme economic and social crisis. Many Argentineans living in the United States contacted Caritas Argentina, the social pastoral agency of the Conference of Argentinean Bishops, to express their desire to assist the country economically. As a result of this interest, CRS and Caritas Argentina established a collaborative agreement in early 2003 to serve the most vulnerable in Argentina.
This has been a daunting task. During the first month of the 2004, nearly 50 percent of the population in Argentina still resided below the poverty line, and 21 percent of the population was unable to earn enough to meet their basic nutritional requirement. (Much of the population is living in a state of under or malnourishment.) Of the total population, children and adolescents represent the largest percentage of indigence and poverty, indicating that poverty is increasing among children.
Given the rising school drop out rates and the malnourished state of a great portion of the Argentinean population, poverty runs the risk of becoming chronic and structurally rooted, thereby propagating itself over generations to come. In this manner, Argentina is losing large portions of the social and cultural capital that had characterized the middle class for more than a century.