Margarita Naseau Social Centre – Albacete

aco[St Louise Province – Madrid] This Centre is located in the “La Milagrosa,” a neighbourhood formed by 600 social houses built by the Council for those who had lived in shanties. It has 2,000 inhabitants – payos (non gypsies), gypsies, immigrants; many are unemployed, illiterate, and hungry, with alcoholism, a lack of religious knowledge. In April 1987 three (today there are more) Sisters settled in the neighbourhood, establishing the local community and work called “Margarita Naseau Social Centre.” They live in a rented flat, as do their neighbours.  They try to be an evangelizing presence; they run several programs and accompany people in difficulty so they can recover values they have lost. With the Parish, food is distributed to 70% of the population. An AIC group takes care of the allotment. The families bring a report from a Social Worker about the kind and quantity of food they need.

Alca Program. This agriculture and horticulture program is conducted by Sister Encarna. It is the alternative to the street for socially disadvantaged youth. All have left school. School failure brought the youths to the edge of the abyss, Alca recovers them. Work habits are created; they cultivate the land for barley, peppers, cucumbers… The produce is sold to help the work. Relationships are created with love and affection which avoids these youths falling into delinquency. Some have returned to study.  When they leave, the centre continues being their place of reference.

Young Women’s Program – This program is for pregnant 15-16 year old girls who dropped out of school. There are workshops directed by Sister Encarna whose objectives are to give them values: organization, effort, etc.. They make sandals, glasses, cribs and peace doves that are sold to help the girls and to buy material for the workshop. They are all very hard working; they know this is their last opportunity. Thursdays are a very special day because they go to the Popular University to the theatre workshop where they are taught vocabulary, self-expression, they have a good time, and they like to feel as if there are actresses.

Amanece Program (Dawn). This is another project for pregnant girls who want to have their babies but have no support from relatives. They are referred from “Red Mother”, parishes, Social Services or the City Council. Sister Maite supports them so that they learn to be mothers. They can stay for 18 months, but longer if they have no other means.

Nos conocemos Program (we know each other). This project is for 40 children ages 5-16. It has school support activities, they play and study. It is a bridge between school-street-family providing education in human and religious values. They have a snack that, for more than one, will serve as a dinner. They also meet with parents. Education does not change the neighbourhood, it changes people, and people change the neighbourhood.

Welcome flats for immigrants. These flats are for new immigrants and for the “Campaign against the cold.” Persons without lodging have food and spend the night. The project has several flats for at least 18 people. In coordination with the City Council and other Albacete entities the work is to welcome, orient and inform people about social services (Soup kitchen, clothing, showers, etc.) and to facilitate their integration.

The Sisters start and finish their day with prayer. You can see fatigue in their faces, but there is joy in their hearts because they have given everything to the Lord; God is in their lives and their lives in God.

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