SOS Social Centres in Chile

In Chile there are currently eleven Social Centres for children and the local community, including those in Antofagasta, Malleco and Concepción.  Many SOS Social Centres operate via Family Strengthening Programmes, which aim to support the wider community.  Below is some information about some of the Social Centres that SOS Children runs in Chile:

SOS Social Centres around Chile: In-Depth

Antofagasta

Description of SOS Social Centre/FSP:

SOS Social Centre Antofagasta opened in January 1997 and is run as a day-care centre. Three classrooms provide space for the supervision of up to 150 children aged 0-16 years. There is also a multi-purpose hall for celebrations, events, seminars and presentations in the social centre, as well as a kitchen and a dining room

Work and Achievements:

During the last year, the Family Strengthening Programme of Antofagasta has attained coverage of over 800 children and families, who are divided between: a Social Centre and a Nursery in the city of Antofagasta, one Community Centre and one Nursery in Mejillones, 2 Nurserys in Tocopilla and two Community centres in Calama. The challenge for development of all of them was significant and involved a great effort on their part and the permanent accompanying of the team from the Family Strengthening Programme.

In the Social Centre the Family committee managed to organize activities with participating families, together they participated keenly in all activities. Additionally, they managed their own resources for their children, as well as making improvements in the infrastructure of the centre. The Community Centre called Generation without limits presented this year a more consistent organization and carried out activities for girls, boys, women, families and the whole community of the town of Mejillones. It also managed the resources for these activities. The Community Centres in Calama organized themselves effectively, resulting in a service beneficial to children’s and youth’s health, with special regards to nutrition. It meant that highly vulnerable sectors of the city got some during the weekends.

Malleco

Description of SOS Social Centre/FSP:

SOS Social Centre Malleco, which was opened in 1997, is located on 11,250 m² of land in the borough Huequen, just 500 metres away from SOS Children's Village Malleco. The SOS Social Centre is run as a day-care centre and has four classrooms, a multi-purpose hall, a kitchen, a dining room, a clinic for minor emergencies, an administrative unit, and a spacious playground/sports ground. Up to 140 children from the local poor neighbourhoods aged 0-15 can be supervised there. In addition to a balanced meal, the children also receive primary and vocational education. School children are assisted with their homework in the afternoons and get other forms of support. They can acquire handicraft skills at a joiner's and tailor's workshop.

Work and achievements:

During this year the Family Strengthening Programme of Malleco was focussed on the development of the core of our work: the child, woman, family and community.  Developments were made to try and minimize the rates of child abandonment though coordination in infancy networking.

The work focused primarily on making close alliances with different agencies, related to academic work, workshops and training that can help the family become self sufficient.   

Concepción

Description of SOS Social Centre/FSP:

There is an SOS Social Centre which is also run as a day-care centre and provides supervision for a further 160 children. The SOS Social Centre has a library, a kitchen with a dining hall, a playground and a sports ground in order to meet the children's need for physical recreation.
Work and achievements: The Family Strengthening Programme is located geographically in the area of Lorenzo Arenas, Concepcion.

Therefore, the actions undertaken in family strengthening coincide and fall within the Family and Community Empowerment guidelines, in order to support the optimal development of children under six years old and provide tools to the family and community to promote a protective family environment.

We have handed the children a set of tools for growth and development according to their stage of maturation and that, above all, guarantees equal conditions of their enrolment into the formal basic education.

Furthermore, various activities of women's empowerment have been promoted. Through the programme “Chile qualifies” women were given an opportunity to enhance their education.

San Esteban

Work and Achievements:

During the present year, the labour of our Community Centre was integrally focussed on the work of family strengthening in families with children of pre-school age.  As a projection for the year 2010, the centre will continue in the same track and will increase its operations until reaching 450 children. In order to accomplish this projection,  the centre has signed an agreement of mutual cooperation between the SOS Children’s Villages and the Municipality of the sector Old Chillán.  This is focused on strengthening families with children under the age of 18 and under 6 years of age.

Santiago

Work and Achievements:

2009 began with a graduation ceremony for 61 children, and 100% of them enrolled in the formal school system. By the end of 2009, 237 children were in the programme.

3 community marches were conducted, aimed at raising awareness of children’s rights.  Family committees were organized; These actively participated in the management of resources.  Two new projects, “Kitchen Goes to You” and “A Seed Well Planted Means Hope” were given funding.  The former aims to educate families about healthy eating habits, the latter is an alcohol and drugs awareness project.

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