Nomads of Buenos Aires: Volunteers at L.I.F.E. Argentina

by Amber Watson, sophmore

Volunteers from various parts of the world have recently been attracted to L.I.F.E. Argentina, a non-profit organization with foundations in helping children in villas (slums).  Sarah, Jeremy, Alice, and Christina are four of L.I.F.E. Argentina’s current key volunteers who have come from Denmark, France and the United States to serve others.

Through a love for traveling, Sarah found a passion for serving others. About three years ago she made her way from Denmark to Nicaragua to live with families in the slums. While there, Sarah grew in her Spanish speaking abilities as she spent time helping the children.  About five months ago she moved from Nicaragua to Argentina to help with L.I.F.E. She believes this is her place — it is where her “heart feels at home.”

Alice and Jeremy both recently moved here from Paris, France. They have fallen in love with the children that L.I.F.E. reaches out to. The many L.I.F.E. locations within the Argentine slums allow them to see the differing economic classes even within the villas themselves.    This opportunity has opened their eyes to the many struggles people who grow up in these villas face.  Many children who live in these areas fall into drug abuse and even the selling of drugs.  L.I.F.E., with the help of volunteers like Alice and Jeremy, seek to put an end to the vicious circle that occurs with drugs in the villas.

Joanna Steinhaus plays with Paraguayan immigrants in Ciudad Oculta.

Christina, from Seattle, has been volunteering with L.I.F.E. for two months.  With only five short days left in Buenos Aires she is sad to leave the children she has been bonding with.  When arriving in Argentina, Christina didn’t know very much Spanish, but she has been diligently taking classes.

“Reaching out to these children is so important and being able to connect with them on a linguistic basis has improved the way I can reach out to others,” Christina said. “I’ve had such an amazing experience working with L.I.F.E. Argentina.”

All the reasons for coming to L.I.F.E. Argentina are different, yet all these nomadic volunteers share a basis in love for helping children.  With the help of volunteers from various places around the world, L.I.F.E. Argentina is able to make an impact in the villas of Buenos Aires.

Twenty-three students and two professors from Concordia spent the last two weeks of August volunteering with L.I.F.E. Argentina as part of their Around-the-World Semester Program.

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