CHILE: Salesian missionaries open new home – Nueva Luz – for homeless youth thanks to public-private partnerships
(MissionNewswire) Salesian missionaries in Santiago, Chile inaugurated a new home for youth called, Nueva Luz (New Light). The home can accommodate eight people and was created thanks to a public-private collaboration between the Don Bosco Foundation of Chile, the construction company Sodimac and the Chilean government. This is good news for the community after a fire destroyed the Salesian Miguel Magone home in February.
During the inauguration of the new center, the Minister for Social Development, Alfredo Moreno, recalled the visit of several children supported by the Don Bosco Foundation to Palacio de La Moneda, the residence of the President of the Republic of Chile, which took place in April. He said, “Some time ago the young people of Don Bosco visited La Moneda and asked us for a new house because theirs had burnt down. So, we told them that we would solve the problem, and from today on, those children have a place to go.”
The construction company, Sodimac, radically renovated the house to make it habitable. Eduardo Mizón, director general of Sodimac-Chile said he was very satisfied with the work. “I think that as a company we are contributing with our grain of sand to make Chile a better country. All children should live in a dignified way. We want that none of them lives on the street.”
After the inauguration, the first five inhabitants entered the house. The inhabitants consisted of three girls and two boys who until recently had been sleeping on the streets in Santiago. Salesian schools, social development services and workforce development programs throughout Chile are helping to break the cycle of poverty for homeless youth through programs and shelters like this one while giving many hope for a more positive and productive future.
“Thanks to the government and to Minister Moreno for developing public-private alliances with civil society and carrying out processes like this. The children are taking a very profound personal journey to change,” said Dr. Sergio Mercado, executive director of the Don Bosco Foundation. “For the first time in history, street children were welcomed in La Moneda. We need more centers for street children as their situation is invisible.”
According to the World Bank, Chile has a fairly low poverty rate at 14.4 percent. Chile’s problem though lies in the country’s high rates of income inequality and inequality within the educational system. Salesian missionaries working in the country focus their efforts on providing education and social services to poor, 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 they need to become successful adults. 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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World Bank – Chile