CHILE: Don Bosco Foundation wins “Social Impact Technologies” award for new app that helps improve intervention for street children
(MissionNewswire) The Don Bosco Foundation in Santiago, Chile has won a “Social impact technologies” award for its new Registro Circuito de Calle (Register of Streets Circuit) app. Helping to improve intervention for street children, the new app was developed by the Don Bosco Foundation in collaboration with Fundación País Digital of Microsoft Chile and DonaTec, an online donation program for the non-governmental agency, CDI Chile.
The app allows users to update mapping within a territory, providing intervention teams with online information that will increase their knowledge of the territories and enable support for planning visits to increase the chances of meeting with minors in the streets.
It also helps teams better plan their actions and social operations on the road so they can choose the most effective strategies for intervening with youth who are living in even the most hidden areas. In addition, the app will characterize the territories to better show the transit of minors as well as track what they do and what they are exposed to in those areas.
Microsoft Power Apps was used to develop the application, Excel online was used to record and save data, and OneDrive and Power Bi were used for the analysis and geo-referencing of the subjects. The app also has software that allows users to share all the information in a collaborative way.
“There is not a computer engineer behind this project, but only us, self-taught people who, with pride, can give visibility to those who are ‘invisible’ for society,” says Sergio Mercado, executive director of the Don Bosco Foundation. “We have designed this app to help professionals bring care and attention to children who suffer on the streets.”
Since 1998, the Don Bosco Foundation has provided programs to assist vulnerable children and older youth who are faced with social isolation, exclusion and a lack of opportunities. The organization employs 170 people in three programs for street children and at-risk youth that include a family residence and a reception center for street children. It is currently serving nearly 160 street children across more than 15 municipalities in Santiago, Chile’s capital and largest city.
The app was launched on Oct. 26 at a presentation ceremony held at the Hilda Chang Hall at the Silva Henríquez Catholic University in Santiago. In attendance were Alfredo Moreno Charme, minister of social development, Sergio Rademacher, director general of Microsoft Chile and Father Victor Mora, president of the Don Bosco Foundation. At the event, Minister Charme noted that Chile has 12,500 people living on the streets across the country, 700 of whom are minors.
“What we are experiencing today is not an isolated case because if we add the talents and skills of all, we can make the difference. All people should have the opportunity to build their own lives,” said Minister Charme. “Not only do youth living on the streets not have a roof over their heads or income, but they are often disconnected from their families, victims of addictions and struggling with many other difficulties. That’s why they deserve our best efforts. We have given priority to them and we will continue to work together on this.”
According to the World Bank, Chile has a fairly low poverty rate of 14.4 percent. However, Chile struggles with high rates of income and education inequality.
Salesian missionaries working in Chile focus their efforts on providing education and social services to poor and at-risk youth. At Salesian schools, universities and youth centers throughout the country, youth can access an education as well as the skills and resources necessary to break the cycle of poverty. As a result of the vocational and technical education provided by Salesian programs, Chilean youth are more likely to find stable employment and improve their standard of living.
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