Generation Ni - Ni

Buenos Aires Travel Blog

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Argentina is an assimilation of race, culture, and socioeconomic background; not exactly what I expected for a Latin American country.  As I was reading the Buenos Aires Herald, an article piqued my interest about the demographics in Argentina versus the United States.

There is a group of young adults, ages ranging from fifteen to twenty four, who are dubbed “Generation Ni-Ni.”  This generation of people “neither works nor goes to school.”  Of the 760,000 people associated with Generation Ni-Ni, seventy three percent are female.  Some women drop out of school to take care of younger siblings while their parents work, but most drop out due to pregnancies.  One girl in particular, Cintia, is seventeen and already has three children.  After her first pregnancy at thirteen, Cintia attempted to return to school, but her daughter was often sick and she needed to tend to her.  After two more unwanted pregnancies, Cintia continues to strive for an education, but feels she will never attain one.  More and more women become a part of Generation Ni-Ni as safe sex practices are not taught in school or more often than not, the women are raped.

The Climientos Programme targets Generation Ni-Ni and encourages the people to go back to school.  Policies offer scholarships to promote education after teen pregnancies, but the information rarely reaches the people who would benefit from them.  In 2007, seventeen girls dropped out of a school in Berazategui; even with the help of the program, only two managed to make it back to school in the same year.

I thought teen pregnancy was an issue in the United States, but there are so many welfare programs that assist young mothers.  Essentially, Cintia’s life was restricted to a housewife at age thirteen.  She was not even given a chance to overcome the cycle of poverty.  Maybe one of her children will go on to attain a higher level education, but the reality is her children will probably end up in the same cycle of poverty.  Hopefully the Climientos Programme will be able to reach out to more women to protect them from teen pregnancies and encourage women to stay in school.  I feel very fortunate to have the opportunity to achieve a college education without the struggle of raising children as well.  I wish teen mothers in America would realize teen mothers in other countries have multiple children and are even more restricted to maintaining a healthy lifestyle for their children.  In America, teen mothers have better opportunities and I would hope they will begin to take advantage in order to reach a healthy standard of living.

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As I got dressed for my first soccer game, I was unsure what to expect.  All I knew was Ferro’s team color was green!  I understood that American sports were different than Latin American sports, but I did not realize how dramatically different. 

At second division soccer games, the away team fans are not allowed in the stadium to watch the game.  This is a direct result from the amount of fights and even deaths that were associated with the soccer games.  The police had breathalyzers and randomly tested fans before entering the stadium.  Alcohol is not permitted at soccer games as a precaution to prevent any riots.  After I passed through the security check point, I was in for an experience.

There was a band that played the team chants throughout the entire game.  At the end of the stadium, fans jumped with excitement during the match.  Ferro was on a losing streak and a win was vital so Ferro would not be in jeopardy of dropping a division.  During the “game,” I realized this is not just a soccer match to the local Argentines; it is a way of life.  Argentines do not choose the team they support, they were born into it.  In Argentina’s current economy, I feel soccer is that much more important.  People who do not work fill their time with soccer.  For some fans, the games are life or death because their fulltime job is supporting their team.  A friend of my father recently committed suicide.  He was laid off from his job and could not find another to support his family.  It was more than he could handle and he chose to take his life.  It is not uncommon in Argentina for a person to commit suicide if his or her team loses a game or drops a division.  I was not prepared for the intensity of the Ferro game.  I heard that soccer is more than just a sport in Latin America and I suppose I could write forever about my observations of the game, but the only way to truly understand soccer in Argentina is to experience a game firsthand.

                The Argentine government is launching a new program to extend lines of credit to its citizens.  A household that has a combined monthly income of at least two thousand pesos can qualify for a new line of credit.  This new plan will allow citizens to obtain a mortgage payable up to twenty year terms with fixed interest rates between fourteen and twenty percent. 

                The loans are administered by Mortgage Bank with funds originating from pension plans through ANSeS Social Security Service, Argentina’s nationalized retirement plan.  The fund totals one billion dollars, allowing for 1.5 billion dollars to be extended through lines of credit.  Banco Hipotecario is a local bank that is able to lend mortgages under this plan include.  The president is hoping that by providing these mortgages, it will improve the construction and real estate industries as the economy continues to regress.  Since mortgage lending in Argentina literally became extinct, it has been borderline impossible for average citizens to improve their standards of living.  In a global economy where mortgage lending is reducing, President Christina hopes this package will “soften the blow” to the Argentine economy.

                In addition to the mortgage stimulus package for Argentina, a more general stimulus package has been announced as well.  The plan includes cheap consumer loans that will finance a variety of things including vacations or vehicles.

                In the last economic crisis of Argentina, the government cut spending dramatically.  Hopefully this reverse declaration will help Argentina sustain their economy during the global economic downturn.  Even though the interest rates are high, the government needs to start somewhere in lending loans.  Without lines of credit, the citizens of Argentina will not have motives to work or make a better life for themselves.  At least now, people will strive to earn two thousand pesos monthly to qualify for loans.  If this package delivers as planned, maybe Argentina can earn its trust back and will prove its citizens are worthy of lower interest rates resulting in more citizens living above the poverty level.