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Shoeless In Cordoba: Economic Downturn And Philanthropy In Argentina
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Although most of us are familiar with the economic downturn that occurred within the last 5 or 6 years, poor economic situations have been occurring across the globe for time immemorial. Argentina is a place that experienced a harsh economic crisis between 1999 and 2002, and its population was hit hard by poverty and little access to basic necessities. This economic downturn occurred throughout the nation. Major urban areas like Buenos Aires and Cordoba along with rural locations all felt the sting of economic depression. Poverty was rampant and yet the global population generally didn’t take any notice.
The major problem behind the economic crisis that occurred at the beginning of this century in Argentina was the fact the country went in to default on the foreign debt. Much of their money was tied up in other interests and they essentially went bankrupt. This had an effect from the upper echelon of Argentine society all the way down to the orphans in urban orphanages. People were feeling the pinch and there wasn’t a lot that could be done. Riots broke out as the poorest of the poor demanded change. The political infrastructure began to crumble and many top diplomats were forced out of office. Even so, the crisis didn’t come to global attention like the most recent financial downturn because it was largely concentrated in Argentina.
Many philanthropists were incapable of helping the nation either because of logistical difficulties or because they simply didn’t know anything was wrong. Joseph Farivar, a man who lives in Los Angeles, California, heard about the economic downturn and the subsequent explosion of poverty and unrest, and he took it upon himself to offer assistance to a wide variety of Argentinians. Farivar is a native southern Californian and has no strong affiliation with the nation other than a desire to help. So, he flew to this South American country with the intent of helping out a group of people that he had never met before and had no strong impetus to help.
His main goal was focused on the least privileged in Argentine society. Naturally, he gravitated to orphanages where young children had been going in droves. With all the political and economic unrest, the orphanages started seeing higher rates of children and they were struggling to provide those children with the basic necessities for life. Farivar took it upon himself to provide an orphanage in Cordoba (the second-biggest city in Argentina) with a whole set of new shoes. The children were given brand new shoes and a brand new lease on life.
Shoes might not seem like that large of a sacrifice, but when you consider that most orphans at the time were entirely shoeless or forced to wear ratty, old footwear, Farivar’s donation was just what the doctor ordered. Proper footwear keeps feet clean and save from all the pathogens that might be lurking on dirty, urban streets. Most people in the developed world wouldn’t think twice about providing their own children with shoes, but Farivar felt the need to offer parentless children a better way to walk through this world.
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