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The South America East Territory - redeeming broken communities

The South America East Territory - redeeming broken communities

The South America East Territory - redeeming broken communities

Music classes and ministry to children is a major outreach focus in the The Salvation Army South America East Territory.

How well do you know The Salvation Army world? This month, our Global Focus column highlights the work in Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay.

Four Salvation Army officers, who knew no Spanish, established The Salvation Army in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in 1890. Operations spread to other South American nations, of which Paraguay (1910), Uruguay (1890) and Argentina now comprise the South America East Territory.

This diverse territory is divided into three divisions: Buenos Aires, Central Argentina, and Uruguay; and three districts: Central West Argentina, Southern Argentina and Paraguay/North East Argentina.

There is a great divide between the rich and poor in the nations of this territory. Poverty is endemic and many families live in slums and shanty town communities. Drugs are rampant among youth and are ravishing many poor communities.

Much of the territory has experienced years of hyper-inflation, which has negatively impacted the Army’s financial stability and the lives of its people.

In the South America East Territory, the gospel is preached in Guarani, Korean, and Spanish.

An overview of location, and ministry makeup, of the South America East Territory.

Major events

In June 2015, Salvationists from around the territory participated in the “Ni Una Menos” (Not One Less) march against femicide and gender violence in Argentina. More than 200,000 people attended the demonstration by women’s rights groups, unions, political organisations and other religious groups.

Persistent rain throughout March and April 2016 brought flooding to many areas in the provinces of Entre Rios, Chaco and Misiones, Argentina, and an unexpected tornado in the city of Dolores, Uruguay. The Salvation Army responded to these natural disasters by visiting those affected to assist in evacuating them from their homes and providing bags of cleaning supplies, food and water, along with spiritual support.

General’s visit

In August 2016, General André Cox and Commissioner Silvia Cox, World President of Women’s Ministries, shared worship with more than 1000 Salvationists and a potentially far greater online and TV audience during their visit to the South America East Territory.

In the Argentine cities of Buenos Aires and Rosário, the visitors met government and other officials, and led a congress.

They also admitted Sergeant Iván José Demitre from the Patricios Corps to the Order of the Founder – The Salvation Army’s highest honour – in recognition of his long service and exceptional dedication to the work of The Salvation Army in the South America East Territory, where he has directed the musical Spirit annually for more than 20 years.


General Andre Cox and Commissioner Silvia Cox admitted Sergeant Iván José Demitre from the Patricios Corps to the Order of the Founder.

In Rosário, the General and Commissioner Cox conducted a television interview with Canal Luz, a ministry of IEMA (Iglesia Evangelica Misionera Argentina – Evangelical Missionary Church of Argentina) which broadcast the entire territorial congress live online and on multiple television stations across Central and South America. The General also preached at the closing meeting of IEMA’s own 32nd anniversary celebration.

Outreach to the poor

Throughout the territory, The Salvation Army reaches out to the poorest of the poor.

Ministries include children’s homes in Uruguay and Paraguay, homes for older adults in Argentina and Uruguay, a primary school and two youth camps in Argentina, a health centre in Argentina, and a medical clinic in Paraguay.

Through sponsorship, Salvation Army donors from Australia help support several children’s centres and programs, including the El Redil Children’s Centre in Asuncion, Paraguay, the Evangelina Espacio Verde in Buenos Aires, Argentina and the Independencia Day Care Centre, in Paysandú, Uruguay.

In Buenos Aires, the corps runs free music classes and football games to connect with children and young people, both in the corps and local neighbourhoods. Regular soup runs also bring comfort and warm food to those sleeping rough on the streets.

Throughout the territory, 10 day care centres serve nearly 200 children, and seven student homes house more than 130 young people.

The Army in Argentina also operates a women’s residence; night shelters for men, women and children; a counselling and labour exchange and a dozen recycling operations.

While a relatively new concept in the South America East Territory, Salvation Army thrift stores enable people in the community to purchase used goods at reasonable prices and are a great form of recycling. The thrift stores are making the Army more visible and helping to contribute to the cost of its other programs.


El Redil Children’s Centre 

Several Australian donors are assisting in the support of this centre, which has been operating since 1944. The centre houses 40 children, most of whom come from highly dysfunctional families, conditions of extreme poverty, and are at risk of homelessness, abuse, malnutrition and child trafficking.

El Redil Children’s Centre offers children a safe, clean and comfortable environment where their physical, spiritual, social, educational and emotional needs are met. The focus is on providing a place where children can live, learn, thrive and prepare for the future, while any existing family rebuilds their circumstances with the hope of linking back with their children in the future.

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