Our Affiliated Project: The Maipu Center
in Santiago, Chile

 

Quick facts about the Maipu Center:

  • School facilities: The Maipu Center is a spacious, well-kept complex of buildings, comprising classrooms, a kitchen, a dining hall, a church and a community room for activities.
  • School year: In Chile, the academic year typically begins in early March and ends in early December, with summer break from December through February and a two-week winter break in July.
  • Boarding: Many of the girls who attend the Maipu Center live in a nearby children’s home.
  • Meals: Children at the Center receive two nutritious meals a day.
  • Activities: In addition to standard academic courses, children here are also offered dance and aerobics classes.
  • Medical care: The Center closely monitors the health of all the children here, and free medical assistance is provided.

Truly a nation of contrasts, Chile spans over 2,000 miles of South America’s western coastline, with deserts in the north, rainforests in the south and the snowcapped peaks of the Andes Mountains ranging throughout. Although a politically progressive country when it comes to human rights, millions of Chileans live in abject poverty. There is a striking disparity between the rich and the poor here, which stems, in part, from the education system. A good education in Chile is expensive, and parents must pick up the bill for tuition costs. Poverty is a cycle here — inadequate education yields unskilled workers who earn insufficient funds to cover tuition expenses for their children. As a result, parents work long hours for low wages, and children often get jobs at a young age to help support their families.

This trend is, perhaps, most notable within Chile’s capital, where over five million people (more than a third of the country’s population) reside. Santiago lies nestled between the towering Andes Mountains to the east and a smaller, coastal range to the west. The poorest areas of the city are located in its southern and northwestern regions. Here, underprivileged Chilean families often live in makeshift slum dwellings or in deficient public housing. It is also here in Santiago, however, that the Maipu Center was founded over 80 years ago by the Daughters of St. Joseph, an order of nuns that has developed a network of children’s centers and homes that care for needy children all across Chile. Today, the Maipu Center serves as a private school and community center — a safe haven and a beacon of hope for children who come from extreme poverty.

Quick Facts about Chile:

  • Population:18,629,746 (2019 est.)
  • Languages Spoken:Spanish
  • Unemployment Rate:4% (2017 est.)
  • Poverty Rate:7% (2019 est.)

READ MORE STORIES FROM OUR PROJECTS IN CHILE:

Coming soon!