Quilpué has accomplished great improvements in recent years

A normal part of childhood restored: children enjoying an ice-cream with friends (Photos: SOS archives)

SOS Children's Village Quilpué is located just outside the city of Quilpué in central Chile, in the Marga-Marga province in the Valparaíso region.

Quilpué is located just 20 km from Valparaiso, and is even on the city’s underground line. Quilpué has a population of roughly 150,000 inhabitants. The commercial and service sectors make for the bulk of employment in the region, consisting mainly of small and medium sized businesses.

Several social development programmes have been active in Quilpué in recent years, investing heavily in reducing poverty, ensuring education, improving homes and health care. Almost 80 per cent of the roads here are paved now. Much progress has been achieved and Quilpué seems very much on track for reaching its Millennium Development Goals in 2015.

The Valparaíso region is one of extreme contrasts

However, although living conditions for people in Quilpué itself have improved greatly in recent years, great inequality continues to exist in the Valparaíso region overall. Poverty levels, for example, are fairly low in Quilpué, at 10.7 per cent, but in neighbouring communities in the region, just a few kilometres away, they can be as high as 25 per cent.

A number of other factors have also improved in Quilpué in recent years, while some communities severely lag behind. In Quilpué, over 42 per cent of candidates in local elections are women, but in ten other communities in the region that percentage is zero. Similar discrepancies exist when it comes to maternal health, teenage pregnancy, and malnourishment in children under the age of six.

Much work also remains to be done as concerns raising awareness of children’s rights in the region. The SOS Children’s Village in Quilpué is the only one in Valparaíso, and the support we can provide to children who have lost parental care, are in danger of losing it, or live in family situations that are no longer tenable, is therefore crucial to these children’s lives.

What we do in Quilpué

Children visiting an educational farm (photo: SOS archives) 

SOS Children’s Villages began its work in Quilpué in 1983.

Care for children who have lost parental care: For children from the area who are no longer able to live with their parents, SOS families can provide a loving home. There have been some recent care reforms in Chile, so that children and young people who cannot live with their parents, receive better care according to their age and gender.

In SOS Children`s Village Quilpué,  children are cared for according to age – those between the ages of 6-12 live together, as do those between the ages of 12-18. This means that the support, activities and care can be adapted according to their ages. Some families live integrated in the community, while others live in the village, and they all receive the same support from our team in Quilpué

When children come into our care, we work with the children's family of origin – we give them support so that they can, when the time is right, care for their children again. Once a child goes back to their family, we continue to assist them, to ensure that the child is well looked after.

Support for young people: Young adults are supported while they continue their education and training and then find a job. Qualified staff supports them until they can live independently.