Magazine article New Internationalist

Putting the Poor on the Map

Magazine article New Internationalist

Putting the Poor on the Map

Article excerpt

ARGENTINA

Next door to the richest neighbourhood in Buenos Aires live some of the country's poorest people - in a community not even recognized by the authorities.

Their home is called Villa (Shantytown) 31, one of 56 in Argentina's capital city. Officially, Villa 31 does not exist, but non-government organization ACIJ (The Civil Association of Equality and Justice) is changing that by mapping the municipality, giving the 80,000 inhabitants addresses, thus enabling them to be officially recognized as part of the population of Buenos Aires and Argentina.

Dora Macoviak is the community representative for the Cristobero district of Villa 31. 'The government does nothing to help us,' she says. 'If we want something, we have to do it ourselves.'

Half of the people in Villa 31 have no access to running water; 60 per cent live without sewerage, and only 1 in 10 receive electricity from the public electricity network.

It is the lack of access to these fundamentals that has caused ACIJ to put the Villa on the map. …

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