Los Aromas is located on the outskirts north of Santiago City, the capital of Chile and is about 2 kilometres away from Madreselvas.
Los Aromos is a stark contrast from the modern and fast-paced development in Santiago, almost as if it were a million miles away from the heart of Chile instead of being minutes away.
Challenges of living on the “other side”
Although Santiago is expanding, the economy in Los Aromos is not benefiting because the development of the new residential suburbs is on the other side of Santiago. The north side where Los Aromos is found is full of poor neighbourhoods with an inadequate transport system, a highly polluted environment, and a severely fragmented social system.
Social fragmentation is a problem just as serious as malaria or TB because it makes people feel ostracised and unwanted. This is what is happening in Los Aromos where the poverty is slowly getting worse as is the sense of self esteem among residents. For the children from poor families, they are born with a disadvantage of being from the north side of town and this significantly decreases their chances of being successful as adults.
Children at risk
The reality of living in Los Aromos is that 20% are living below the poverty line even though the official poverty statistics for the country went from 18.7% to 11% from the period of 2003 to 2011. Overall, the most vulnerable to poverty are the children because not only are they deprived of their basic rights, they start living a life of envy surrounding by greed, drugs, substance abuse, crime, and violence. The life lessons for children in depressed areas are poles apart from the kind of life lessons children from the south side receive and this will ultimately reflect on their physical, mental, and emotional growth.
These children also have to stop school and help their families earn enough to put food on the table and pay for the most basic services. In Santiago City, children as young as 5 are being placed in the informal work place. The risk to their health is undeniable. In 2012, there were as many as 229,000 Chilean children in the work force doing dangerous jobs like working in construction sites, retail, and in agriculture and farming.
Our Work In Los Aromos
SOS Children’s Village in Los Aromos was established in 1978. It was the second SOS site in Santiago after Madreselvas. Over the stretch of 36 years, SOS Children's Villages in Los Aromos has established several SOS families, where children live who have been orphaned. This means the children get an SOS Mother and SOS siblings. They are put into the SOS education system and as they become teenagers, they are taught skills through the SOS youth programme that will help them find good-paying jobs.
The SOS community programmes are another outreach of SOS Children. It has a social centre and day care centre for parents who need to work but have no one to safely leave their children with.
The SOS Children’s Village is a safe community with several family homes, a community centre, offices, and function rooms for the children and administrative staff. The SOS Nursery is also in the Children's Village and has its own playground and sports field. Teenagers with no homes are housed inside the Village until they are ready to graduate and be independent.
We hope to shape the future for vulnerable children in Chile by providing them with the education and nurturing care. Will you help make this possible, and sponsor a child today?