Child Sponsorship background from Padre las Casas, Chile

SOS Children's Village Padre las Casas

SOS Children's Village Padre las Casas is situated in the town of the same name and very close to the regional capital Temuco. Temuco is the capital of the Araucanía region, about 670 kilometres south of Santiago, and has about 230,000 inhabitants. The city is surrounded mostly by coniferous forests and the area produces many crops and fruits. Temuco is one of the newest cities of Chile with modern infrastructure, current architecture, and an important commercial downtown area, and therefore attracts many poor families from rural areas looking for better living conditions.

One of the most distinctive features of Temuco and its surroundings is the strong presence of the Mapuche culture, who make up about 13% of the population in Temuco. Mapuche are the indigenous inhabitants of Central and Southern Chile and Southern Argentina. Some maintain their culture and traditions and continue living on agriculture, but a growing majority have migrated to larger cities after the loss of their lands in search of better economic opportunities and now live in impoverished conditions. Most of them are still left out from the social benefits and protection of the government, which is one reason for the extreme poverty of the people who live in Temuco.

The community of Padre las Casas is the second largest town of the Araucanía region and has about 60,000 inhabitants. The Araucanía region has one of the highest poverty rates in the country. According to investigations of the local council of Temuco, more than half of all children living in that area suffer abuse, which means the area has the highest level of violence within families in the whole country. During the last years, drug addiction has increased considerably, with consumers every time becoming younger and younger.

SOS Children's Village Padre las Casas was built on a site of about 15,000 m² in the community of the same name and comprises 14 family houses which can give a  loving and caring home to up to 126 orphaned and abandoned children. In addition to the family houses, there is the village director's house, a house for the so-called SOS aunts (SOS mother trainees or family helpers who support the SOS mothers during their daily work and fill in for them when they are ill or on leave), an administration and service area, a multipurpose building, a library as well as a sports field. The children and co-workers from the SOS Children's Village use the kindergartens, schools, health centres and shopping facilities in the vicinity and in nearby Temuco. This ensures that they are well integrated within the community.