Our Affiliated Project: The Ramon Santelices Center in San Jose de Maipo, Chile

 

Quick facts about the Ramon Santelices Center:

  • Ages served: All ages
  • Education: With the exception of handicapped children, most of the children attend public schools in the area.
  • School year: 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.
  • Activities: Apart from completing their homework, the children are given chores such as cleaning the center and tending to the garden. They also enjoy recreational activities, outdoor sports and workshops given by the Center in art, music, crafts and folk dancing.
  • Nutrition: Healthy lunch and snacks are served to the children each day.
  • 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 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.

Quick Facts about Chile:

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

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