Chile is a beautiful, culturally rich country but sadly it is also a country of great 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. There is a population of approximately 10,000 children and youth living under the protection of the government. The vicious cycle of poverty has led to them becoming oppressed, invisible, and their rights being 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 18 years old 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 prison- 50% of those in jail were once under government protection living in group homes. Sadly, when many of these youth have their own children, they are unable to take responsibility and care for them and this story of oppression is repeated across generations.
We believe that the lives of these often invisibilized children are invaluable and full of purpose and that they are a crucial part of the change, the revolution of love that Chile needs.
We mobilize the Church, government, NGOs, private businesses, individuals and educational institutions to be hope and family for these children and youth, in three
strategic approaches to connect with and progressively build relationships with at-risk children and youth:
We work in 6 government-run group homes with over a hundred youth carrying out periodic workshops and activities which contribute to healthy relationships and spiritual development. These workshops provide a safe and consistent space to connect with the youth and begin to form meaningful relationships with them.
Our mentoring program, also known as the connector program, is focused on deepening that 1 on 1 connection with a child and connecting them to the world and society outside of the group home. In this program an adult invests in an intentional relationship with a specific adolescent in order to help them face their biggest personal challenges - self-esteem, relationships, school, reconciliation with their birth family, family reunification etc.
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.