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. 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 under government protection living in institutions. 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 mobilize the Church, government, NGOs, private businesses and educational institutions to be hope and family for these children and youth, in three different ways:
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
We work in a government-run center with over a hundred youth carrying 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. The adolescent is encouraged to live with hope, and is accompanied by the adult, who stands in as their family as they integrate into society once they are of legal age.
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.