Chile is a beautiful, culturally rich country but sadly it is also a country of inequality. Even so, it is one of the most developed Latin American countries and has been an OECD member since 2010 but still it is ranked as the 20th most unequal country worldwide, with a large economic disparity. As a result of the vicious cycle of poverty there is a population of approximately 10,000 children and youth living under the protection of the government due to the fact that they are oppressed, invisible and their rights have been violated in one form or another.
Institutionalized at a young age, these children do not receive the necessary care they need and their elemental right to live in family is violated; which dramatically affects their identity and development as individuals. Once they reach age 18 they age out of the system of protection and are prime targets for drug trafficking, prostitution and criminal mafias. For many, the next institution that will receive them is the local jail- 50% of those in jail were under government protection living in institutions. Sadly, when many of these youth have their children, they are unable to take responsibility and care for them and this story of oppression is repeated over generations.
We mobilize the Church, government, NGO’s, private businesses and educational institutions to be hope and family for these children and youth in three different ways:
Foster Care: We partner together with the government’s foster care program, local churches and other organizations to promote and recruit families and faith communities that are willing to care for vulnerable children from 0 to 6 years old in their homes.
Workshops & Mentoring: Working in government-run center with over a hundred youth we carry out periodic workshops and activities which contribute to healthy relationships and spiritual development. In the 1 to 1 mentoring program an adult invests in an intentional relationship with a specific adolescent in order to help them face their biggest challenges (self-esteem, relationships, school, etc), to live with hope and to accompany them as their family as they integrate into society once they are of legal age.
Social Insertion: Once the youth turn 18 years old and are no longer under the government’s care, we welcome them as their family and network of support. We continue working to bring healing and purpose to their lives while helping them meet their basic needs of a place to live, food, healthcare, education and employment.