SOS Children in Chile
Overview of Chile
Chile extends along the south-west coast of South America, between the Pacific Ocean and the Andes, from the world's driest desert region in the north to the Antarctic in the south. With one of South America's strongest economies, its basic social indicators compare favourably with other countries in the region. Despite this, it is a country of immense social contrasts. A large proportion of the population live below the poverty line in slum conditions, characterised by high unemployment, housing shortages and malnutrition.
Our Work in Chile
We began our work in Chile in 1965. Today, there are 14 SOS Children's Villages in the country. We have also established numerous welfare, educational and medical facilities serving the needs of vulnerable people in communities surrounding the Villages.
SOS Children's Village Concepción, which opened in 1965, was Chile's first SOS Children's Village. Built on a hill in a disadvantaged area, the SOS Children's Village consists of 13 family houses where up to 100 children can find a new, loving home. Two SOS Nurseries opened at the Village in 1988 and 1989, with a total capacity for 256 preschool children from the Village and the neighbouring areas. There is an SOS Social Centre which is also run as a day-care centre and provides supervision for a further 160 children. In 1986, an SOS Vocational Training Centre opened in Concepción for up to 290 trainees and runs courses including electrical engineering and electronics. The Village also has a training centre for SOS Children's Village mothers and other staff from SOS Children's Villages in Chile. Staff receive training to help them to learn new skills and are given the opportunity to share their experiences.
Madreselvas, the first SOS Children's Village in Santiago, was built in 1967 on the outskirts of the city. The village has a wonderful view of the Andes and offers up to 100 children a new home in 12 family houses. It also has as a village director's house, a community centre, a library and a sports ground for the children to play and keep fit. The children attend local state schools and nurseries.
Opened in 1969, SOS Children's Village Bulnes is about 7 kilometres away from the town of Bulnes and provides up to 110 children with a new home in 13 family houses. It also has a community centre with an administrative unit and function rooms for special events, two swimming pools, and a small clinic for both those from the Village and from the local community.
SOS Children's Village Chaimávida was built in 1972, and consists of 11 family houses, in which a total of 95 children can find a new, loving home. It also has a community centre, a library, a chapel, and eleven holiday huts for children from other SOS Children's Villages to visit on family vacations. The children go to nursery or school in the nearby Concepción.
Opened in 1975, SOS Children's Village Coyanco is about 40 kilometres from the town of Chillán. It consists of 12 family houses for up to 100 children. It also has a community centre, a swimming pool, and a holiday camp with 14 huts for children from other Chilean SOS Children's Villages to stay. Children and young people from the SOS Children's Village attend local public schools.
In 1979, a second SOS Children's Village in Santiago was built just two kilometres from SOS Children’s Village Madreselvas. SOS Children's Village Los Aromos consists of 10 family houses that provide up to 80 children with a new home. The SOS Children's Village has a community hall, a swimming pool and an SOS aunts' house (SOS mothers in training). A nursery on the village site is also attended by children from the local neighbourhood. It has eight classrooms, a playground and a sports ground. Four SOS Youth Homes were established in urban Santiago for up to 36 young people from SOS Children's Villages Madreselvas and Los Aromos making the transition to independence.
SOS Children's Village Malleco opened in 1981. Located near to the town of Angol in the southern part of the province Malleco, the Village consists of 12 family houses for a total of 109 children. Other facilities include a community centre, a dental clinic and a swimming pool. The children from SOS Children's Village Malleco attend local state schools and nurseries. An SOS Social Centre was opened here in 1997, located just 500 metres from the Village. The centre offers day-care facilities, a clinic for minor emergencies and a spacious playground/sports ground. Up to 140 children from the poor neighbourhoods which surround the Village can be supervised at this centre, enabling parents to work to support their families’ financial needs.
SOS Children’s Village Quilpué was officially opened in 1983. Located in the small town of Retiro, the large Village can provide a home for up to 130 children in 16 family houses of SOS Children's Village Quilpué. Facilities include a swimming pool, a holiday house on the pacific coast, and a house for the SOS aunts.
SOS Children's Village Puerto Varas opened in 1984 in the city of the same name on the picturesque Lake Llanquihue, one of the largest natural lakes in Latin America. The SOS Children's Village consists of 12 family houses, providing a new home for up to 100 children. It also has a village director's house, a community centre and function rooms for special events and celebrations.
SOS Children's Village Antofagasta opened in 1987. Antofagasta is the most important city in the Chilean desert and is situated approximately 1400 kilometres north of the capital. The Village consists of 13 family houses which can provide a total of 104 children with a new home and a SOS Social Centre to provide day-care. The Village includes a playground, a sports ground and a swimming pool. The children here are taught in local public schools, helping the children to integrate with the local community. Up to 20 young people from the SOS Children's Village are housed in one of the two SOS Youth Homes provided in urban Antofagasta whilst they undertake further study or vocational training and prepare for an independent life.
The city of Arica is a port city and a popular tourist destination, located in Northern Chile very close to the border with Peru. SOS Children's Village Arica consists of 12 family houses for up to 108 children. SOS Children's Village Arica includes a community centre for events and celebrations, a small clinic, a sports ground, a chapel, a swimming pool and a holiday camp. The Village also has a house for SOS aunts. The children are taught in local public nurseries and schools.
SOS Children's Village Curicó was opened in 1996 in one of Chiles’ oldest towns. Located in an area surrounded by farmland, orchards and vineyards, the living conditions are poor in and around Curicó. The SOS Children's Village consists of 10 colourfully pained family houses offering up to 90 children a new, loving home. It also has a community centre and function rooms for special events. The children attend local state schools and nurseries.
Chiloé is a remote island that is off the coast of Chile in the Pacific Ocean, about 1,000 kilometres south of the capital Santiago. The island's social situation is characterised by poverty and social problems. Construction work on Chile's thirteenth SOS Children's Village started in August 2002 in the town of Ancud, located in the far north of the island. 12 family houses built in the local style out of wood provide security for a total of 100 children. The Village also has a SOS Nursery for up to 60 children from the Village and the local community.
Padre las Casas
SOS Children's Village Padre las Casas is situated in the town of the same name. Located very close to the regional capital Temuco, the area has one of the highest poverty rates in the country. The community, opened in 2008, comprises 14 family houses providing a home for up to 126 orphaned and abandoned children. In addition to the family houses, there is a library and a sports field. The children and co-workers from the SOS Children's Village use the nurseries, schools, health centres and shopping facilities in the vicinity and in nearby Temuco. This ensures that they are well integrated within the local community.
Life in SOS Children's Villages Chile: My life in the village
This is the story of Viviana, a girl who was welcomed to SOS Children's Village Malleco, Chile, when she was just three years old. Several years have passed since then, but now, happily, she can say: "I am grateful for having been given the chance to grow up in such a wonderful place!"
I don't remember the time when I arrived in the village too well. I was so small that the only thing I clearly remember is that there were a lot of children around me, watching me with big smiles as if I were a present (She smiles). Much later I realized the presence of this great woman giving me loads of affection - my SOS mother.
My family was more than a normal family. My mother enjoyed keeping herself busy, although my brothers and sisters were also there to help her with the housework. My brothers, especially, were very naughty. My mother must have loved them too much to bear all the things they did to her. But my mother was brave and intelligent enough to cope with all of them. She was, and still is, a courageous woman.
In the village, children receive a lot of support, especially in education. It is not only our mothers or the village director who guide our development; also the other co-workers at the village. An "SOS aunt" (family helper), the caretaker or the driver is always there to offer a bit of support. I remember these co-workers as very nice people, ready to give me advice or comfort whenever I had a personal problem I was reluctant to share directly with my mum.
In the village, there was a time and place for everything. We had spaces to express our opinions, feelings, ideas, emotions, with the main objective of gaining self-confidence and security. It's impossible to remember how many of these activities I attended during my time in the village, there must have been hundreds of them.
So here I am. All the effort and support from the village community - including my own family - helped me to pursue a career and become a successful professional. I was lucky enough to find a job very soon after I graduated and am now a toddler's educator at a nursery school. I am an independent woman and have my own flat (well, a rented one for the moment).
I can see now, looking back, that there were lots of people in the village who helped me reach my goals. In a few words, I am grateful for having been given the chance to grow up in such a wonderful place. I was raised in a great family, by my mother, my brothers and my sisters.
Aldeas Infantiles SOS Chile
Av. Los Leones 382, 5° piso, Of 501
Tel: +56/2/33 47 018, +56/2/33 47 019
Fax: +56/2/23 26 357