A warm chat with the director of Pewmafe Malen
In the last events and until we get to collect the necessary amount of money, we are collaborating with the Pewmafe Malen organization, a residential home and shelter for girls between 5 and 12 years of age, located in the Longchamps area in Buenos Aires. This time our objectives are repairing and restoring the bathrooms and the heating so that the quality of life of the girls during their stay improves. Many of them come to the shelter without the experience of turning a tap and feeling the hot water. The girls live here just as if it was their own home. They are taken care of physically, emotionally and socially.
Although Pewmafe Malen gets financing from the Argentine State, this is not enough to cover all the needs. Especially if we take into account the state of neglect that the girls show the moment they arrive at the shelter, and the deterioration that the building itself undergoes with the passing of time. It is often necessary to collaborate with the girls' families once they leave the shelter, that is why the girls keep the things they were offered during their stay (like blankets, school objects, etc.).
In order to get to know more about the organization, we talked with Ms. Graciela Gilona, who has been the director of Pewmafe Malen Shelter since 2003:
Fund.A.H.deS. - It must be such a hard work, what is your motivation?
Graciela - I must say that I have been extremely lucky. The death of my son made me reconsider my whole life. I was working at a bank in Business Administration and I chose the humanitarian road, helping children who didn't have a mother. Because I was then a mother without a child. I made a promise to my son and I changed my career completely. I am now a family therapist, and despite the fact that I have four more children, I sticked to my promise. I love my work, and I am really grateful to Mensajeros de la Paz because they continue entrusting the care of the girls who live in our shelter to me. Nothing compares to the feeling of entering through the main gate very early in the morning. That magic instant when the early birds announce the sunrise. Walking through the corridors of the shelter and waking up the girls all tucked in in bed. I am here if they get upset, or if they throw a tantrum. I work here to become that door between their own story and what can change their lives. And this ideology is shared by everyone that works here; it means to be loyal to the great work of Father Ángel García.
Fund.A.H.deS. - How is the work team of Pewmafe Male Shelter composed?
Graciela - Our professional staff consists of a social worker, an institutional therapist, and a school psychologist. A group of community workers, therapeutic companions and social operators, who are in charge of taking care of the living together of the girls. In the kitchen there are two chefs that work on the menus and they are advised by the nutritionist of our local hospital. This is because most of the girls are underweight when arrive at the shelter. The voluntary teachers and teaching volunteers are in charge of the recreation activities. There are different activities every day of the week.
Fund.A.H.deS. - The girls usually stay at the shelter for a period of approximately 6 months. What happens once they leave?
Together with all the other professionals of our work team, we work on strategies related to the deterrence of the factors that made our intervention necessary, thus making it easier for the children to live outside. We also work on the cases of those girls in adoption situation with the families that postulated for each adoption and that have been elected by the different courts. It is essential in the process of mutual adaptation and subsequent detachment from the institution, to make use of all the technical and emotional resources at our disposal so that the girls experience their stay in the shelter like a life phase when they have been able to feel loved and taken care of.