Our Affiliated Project: The Ramon Santelices Center in San Jose de Maipo, Chile
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 here is a cycle — 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.
The Ramon Santelices Center is located an hour outside of the capital Santiago in the small city of San Jose de Maipo. Named for the young doctor who founded it, the Ramon Santelices Center offers aid to the children in this area whose families cannot afford their educational and medical care. Some of the children in the Center’s program are handicapped and desperately need the assistance the Center provides. It serves as a safe haven and a beacon of hope, offering these precious children the opportunity to rise above the difficult socioeconomic and physical challenges they face — the opportunity for a brighter future.