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Dublin: 10°C Monday 21 June 2021

Tour the 'Villas Miserias' - the Buenos Aires slums that Pope Francis wanted to help

Watch this Irishwoman’s report from the sprawling poor neighbourhoods that hold 300,000 people in extreme poverty.

Source: Deirdre Treacy

TEN PER CENT of the population of Buenos Aires live in areas called the Villas – but they are practically invisible in the shadow of the Argentinean city.

Irish reporter Deirdre Treacy and Argentinean reporter Pia Polotto travelled to the area to see first-hand the conditions in which 300,000 people live in extreme poverty.

There are some seeds of hope. Pope Francis – then known as Archbishop of Buenos Aires, Jorge Bergoglio – took a particular interest in the work of organisations in the community in the late 1990s.

According to Padre ‘Toto’ de Vedia, parish priest of Villa 21, which is built alongside the most contaminated river in Argentina:

Source: Deirdre Treacy

Since then, the spotlight has been shining on these Villas although the population explosion in them and continuing poverty and lack of resources means conditions are still woefully inadequate.

Source: Deirdre Treacy

There are organisations working in the Villas – particularly priests who followed Fr Carlos Mugica into the area in the 1960s to live and work there. Mugica was killed in 1974 by a right-wing paramilitary group.

This and increased commitment from state departments may begin a period of brighter hope for the residents of the so-called Villas Miserias.

For the full report by Deirdre Treacy and Pia Polotto, see here:

Source: Deirdre Treacy/YouTube

For a blog on the journey behind this project, click here.

This piece of video journalism was supported by the Simon Cumbers Media Fund

About the author:

Deirdre Treacy

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