Padre las Casas
Padre Las Casas is found in the Cautin Province in the region of Arauncania, Chile. The Arauncania Region is one of the country’s primary agricultural districts and is even known to be the “granary of Chile.”
However, it is more popularly seen as a poor region where one third of the population are ethnic Mapuche members. This puts the region in constant conflict with the central government because of land claims of the indigenous Mapuche tribe.
A city left behind
Padre Las Casas is considered a city and a commune at the same time, with a population of 60,000, and was established in 1995. It occupies an area slightly over 400 square kilometres and is completely surrounded by land.
The main products of the region used to be cereal, wheat, and oats but recently farming has grown more diverse with fruits and flowers, more specifically grapes and lupine. Although parts of the region are developing well, like Pucon and Villarrica Lake, Padre Las Casas is sadly left behind in terms of investments, jobs and progress.
Bleak future of the children from Padre Las Casas
Padre Las Cases town is strategically located close to the region’s progressive and modern capital city of Temuco, yet manages to escape the opportunities for economic growth. This is one of the reasons why the adult residents of Padre Las Casas are struggling with a better way of life and ultimately therefore, the children. They are growing up with a fundamental lack of basic skills and an education that could improve their lives as adults.
The particular rural area where the ancient Mapuche tribe is found is having issues making the transition to a modern world and its ways. The parents cling to traditions, making it more difficult for their children to face the challenges of studying and eventually working whilst also remaining loyal to their roots.
The government is not helping to support change because part of what attracts tourists is to witness the Mapuche people living a traditional life similar to past generations. The Mapuche people are also not receiving enough support in terms of social benefits from the government, leading to a dire situation, often with very little hope.
Many people from Padre Las Casas migrate to Temuco in the hope of finding work or a higher income but a lack of experience, education and even social skills prevents many of them being hired.
In the town of Padre Las Cases, life is hard. There is abuse, violence, anger and poverty which threatens not only the Mapuche tribe’s heritage and peaceful lifestyle but is also doing tremendous disservice to the children: around 90% of the children in Padre Las Casas witness or suffer from abuse on a daily basis. Drug addiction even among the very young is rife and used as an escape from their harsh reality.
Our Work In Padre Las Cases
It was in 2008 when SOS Children's Villages decided to put up an SOS Children’s Village in Padre Las Casas. Several SOS families were established and able to care for over 100 children whose parents could no longer take care of them. The SOS mothers and SOS siblings work to help these children excel in local schools and learn to get along with others in the community.
The work of SOS Children's Villages will extend up to the time they are ready for higher education and the goal is to set up youth programmes that will teach them vocational skills and guide the teens away from drugs and violence. For now, the children are still young but the results of SOS Children’s Villages' efforts are starting to show: they are happy, safe from the violence that permeates the community and are starting to believe in a future that is bright and promising.
Vulnerable children in Padre Las Cases depend upon sponsors to have a safe, happy and fun childhood. Will you help them by sponsoring a child today?