El Jagüel de María

Text and photos by Norito Hagino

Our group had the opportunity to visit the El jagüel de María foster home. Established by the sisters Estela and Susana Sosa in 1999, the foster home has welcomed and accommodated over 300 children between age 3 and 18 to this day. Some stay at the home for a few days before being taken to their adoptive parents, while some stay there until the day he or she turns 18 years old. 

At the time we visited, there were 17 children living at the foster home. The “aunts,” the volunteers, and the collaborators do not only provide the children material needs such as a bed, food, and clothes, but emotional and spiritual care in order to protect them from possible violation of their rights in critical family situations. 


The learning cluster had the opportunity to talk and interact with the aunts of the home, the children who are living there, and a youth who lived there until the age of 18. Many of those who have lived in this foster home come back to visit their aunts, brothers, and sisters. We really felt that all the people there were like one big family, sharing much care and love, even though they are not blood relations.


Children come to the foster home for various reasons, some of them being domestic violence, malnutrition at home, and being withheld by the courts. The aunts told us that many choose to stay in the foster home because they have things like food every day, a comfortable bed, and a private bathroom inside the house. The aunts feel sad that the children do not want to go back to their homes, which would be the optimal end result for the children if their home life were suitable.

One episode that one of the aunts told us was about a brother and a sister: Juan and María José. Both of them came into the foster home together and had the opportunity to be taken by adoptive parents, but the younger brother Juan decided to stay in the foster home. The older sister, María José, is now living with an adoptive family, going to a private high school. She is aiming to become a lawyer and make money so that she can protect and take care of her young brother. Children who come to the foster home face problems such as poor-education and finance, problems which are of great concern to the aunts.


One of the biggest goals in the foster care is to prepare the children so that they live and take care of themselves when they turn 18 and leave the foster care. In order to achieve this, workshops by psychologists and psychiatrists are held to provide spiritual support for the students, and workshops of baking, art, and craft are held to help the children obtain working skills. 


For more information about El jagüel de María, please visit their website:
http://www.eljagueldemaria.com.ar/


This video was put together for the children of El jagüel de María and it contains photos of them with their Christmas presents.

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