Spanning 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, Chile is a stunning country.
Yet despite its natural beauty and reputation as politically progressive when it comes to human rights, Chile suffers from excessive inflation and an ever-increasing unemployment rate. Due to these economic realities, millions of Chileans are desperately poor.
A big telethon in Chile
The anguish typically associated with poverty becomes even starker when impoverished families are caring for a disabled child, such as the families with children at our affiliated project, the Handicapped Children’s Center in Santiago.
Thankfully, children with various disabilities receive treatment and support in an educational environment and help from their sponsors at the Center. Without the much-needed aid the Center provides, disabled children and their families would have nowhere to turn to receive services and resources they so desperately need.
Beyond support from our sponsorship program, the Handicapped Children’s Center receives funding year-round thanks to Teleton, Chile. Teleton is a charity event held in various locations around the country in the first week of December. During the event, Chilean television networks hold a 27-hour telethon to raise money to help children with developmental disabilities. Since its inception in 1978, over $286 million has been raised, and 13 rehabilitation centers have been built all around Chile. It is the world’s most-watched telethon.
Because the Handicapped Children’s Center is a well-funded organization, it provides children and young adults up to age twenty years old with medical care and therapy for free.
Free care for kids in need
Because the Handicapped Children’s Center is a well-funded organization, it provides children and young adults up to age twenty years old with medical care and therapy for free. The Center is equipped to provide care and support to children suffering from the effects of polio, congenital disabilities, Downs Syndrome, and other mental and physical handicaps.
The Handicapped Children’s Center is located in a wing of a local hospital in Santiago called Teleton. Teleton is a large, modern building, comprising of examination rooms, physical therapy, a swimming pool, and a center for making prosthetic aids, which are provided to children free of charge. The Center is the rehabilitation wing of the hospital. Transportation to and from the facility, when needed, is also offered at no cost to families.
The staff includes physical therapists, orthopedists, podiatrists, neurosurgeons, urologists, dentists, occupational therapists, teachers, psychologists, social workers, nurses, audiologists, and a full prosthetic staff. The Center emphasizes self-care and independence in its therapy, and families are encouraged to play an active role in the children’s rehabilitation. The goal is to prepare the Center’s participants to become entirely independent at school, at home, in the workforce, and society. Children who are able to attend local public schools to learn independence, and those who are not able to due to their disabilities are educated at the Center.
Helping children to walk
The support children receive at the Handicapped Children’s Center is individualized, involving physical and recuperative therapy as well as psychiatric care. Children also enjoy arts programs as a part of their participatory therapy. Doctors, nurses, technicians and nurses are available with access to robotics technology, providing the best possible support for maximum recovery.
Additionally, special new surgery techniques have been performed on children with physical limitations so they may walk normally. Recently, three children that are enrolled in the Children Incorporated program have benefited from the surgery with staggering results.
Along with the care they receive at the Center, sponsored children receive school supplies, food, and clothing and transportation allowances so they can participate in regular therapy sessions. Over the years, children and their parents have expressed gratitude for the support they received from sponsors, as it lowered the family burden on treatment expenses.
How do I sponsor a child in Chile?
You can sponsor a child in Chile in one of three ways: call our office at 1-800-538-5381 and speak with one of our staff members; email us at firstname.lastname@example.org; or go online to our sponsorship portal, create an account, and search for a child in Chile that is available for sponsorship.