Chaimavida is located in the city of Concepción, a city which has undergone serious and rapid economic damage since the devastating earthquake of 2010. Our Village here is one of two in the city.
Concepción is home to 370,000 people and is located in Chile's Biobio region. Since the earthquake, unemployment has risen, particularly among young women. This had a had a dramatic effect on the city's children.
A “social earthquake”
The epicentre of 2010's 8.8 magnitude quake was just 21 miles from Concepción, and so severe were the tremors that the city was moved three metres to the west. Homes and businesses were destroyed, and the economic fallout has been so severe that it is sometimes referred to as the “social earthquake” that followed the geological one.
Around 17% of people in Bilbio province lost their homes – representing 9% of the nation's population as a whole. Lawlessness ensured in the immediate aftermath of the quake, with rioting and looting taking place in spite of military intervention. Bare necessities such as food, clothing and hygiene products were hard-to-come by, and SOS Children stepped in to provide essential support into a large-scale relief project which developed into a long-term community programme.
Families battle economic ruin
With such widescale damage to infrastructure such as homes, businesses and transport, the economy suffered a terrible blow. With no place-of-work to attend, many companies were forced to lay off many employees, many of whom the quake had left with nothing.
In the year following the earthquake, Concepción stood in stark contrast to the trend of rising employment in Chile. Women under the age of 34 suffered especially, with joblessness among this group double that of men. In the twelve months following the earthquake, 3,000 people left Concepción in search of a better life elsewhere.
SOS Children's Village in Concepción-Chaimávida
SOS Children began work in Concepción-Chaimávida in 1971. Today, SOS programmes help care for the needs of the population, including a community centre and library.
When children can no longer live with their parents, they can join an SOS family at our Children's Village. Here they grow up in loving homes, and are cared for by an SOS Mother. The children growing up in SOS families attend local schools, and remain part of the local community. 11 holiday cabins located in SOS Children's Village Chaimávida allow them to experience the excitement of a holiday trip.
When these children become teenagers, the SOS youth programme provides opportunities for additional education and vocational training. Young people from SOS Children's Villages Chaimavida, Concepción, Bulnes, Coyanco and Puerto Varas attend the programme. Our youth programme is run by qualified teachers and counsellors, who help the young people to develop plans for an independent future.
Swift response following the 2010 quake
SOS Children provided relief to nearly 300 families in the aftermath of the earthquake, as well as emotional support to children traumatised by the disaster. As so often happens with our work, this emergency project gradually developed into a long-term programme to provide support to the most vulnerable members of the community. Today, it continues to thrive under the management of the community itself.
Following the most disastrous earthquake in living memory, many children and families are still recovering from the damage caused. For children who are no longer able to live with their own family, they are given hope in our Children's Village. Sponsor a child in Chaimávida today.