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Population: Over 17 million
Land Mass: 287,187 square miles
Currency: Chilean peso
Primary Religion: Roman Catholic
Infant Mortality Rate (per 1,000 births): 7.8
Chile’s elongated form is one of the most recognizable shapes in South America. While it may take some time to travel from the northern part of the country to the southern part – covering about 2,700 miles in all – geographical diversity has its advantages. From its sparkling oceanfront beaches and dry desert to the breathtaking Andes mountain range and the mysterious Easter Island, Chile draws sunbathers and adventurers alike.
Those who visit Chile, home to more than 17 million, find the country’s people to be friendly, passionate, hospitable and hardworking. Chile distinguishes itself as one of the most developed countries in Latin America, and a growing middle class forecasts a bright future for this South American gem. But despite the country’s growing prosperity, a significant segment of Chile’s population still deals with a surprising level of poverty.
Valparaíso, Chile, where Children International works, is a beautiful and important port city located on the Pacific coast of Chile, approximately 75 miles west and north of Santiago. The city’s ornate colonial architecture and famous hillside elevators stand in stark contrast to the impoverished neighborhoods that lie on its outskirts. The marginalization of the residents of these slums is a challenge Children International has been helping mitigate since 1980.
While Chile enjoys a sophisticated public health system that has helped significantly reduce the transmission of communicable diseases, it faces serious challenges in the areas of heart disease, diabetes and mental health issues.
Nearly 22% of Chilean adults struggle with obesity, which can be a less-recognized manifestation of malnutrition.
Over three dozen active volcanos dot the landscape of Chile, posing a constant hazard of eruptions.
Chile is frequently ravaged by violent earthquakes, including one in February 2010 that, at a magnitude of 8.8, rates among the strongest in recorded history and caused widespread destruction.
Although Chile is more prosperous than many of its neighboring countries, the poor in Chile continue to struggle with inadequate housing, malnutrition and barriers to education. They are especially vulnerable to the country’s frequent natural disasters.
Children International – Chile provides sponsorship benefits to over 17,000 children and youth through three community centers.
Sponsored children and youth receive vital assistance like free medical and dental care, nutritional support, educational assistance, family aid, clothing, school supplies and uniforms, shoes and more.
In times of natural disaster, Children International provides support with emergency aid, such as temporary housing, food and supplies.
Our newest community center in Chile, Villa Alemana, is a state-of-the-art facility, boasting modern medical and dental offices and a variety of other vital services.
We also provide educational support such as tuition assistance, scholarships and early childhood development, as well as teaching health awareness and life skills through organized sports and other programs.
Click on the titles below to watch videos and slideshows or read stories about our programs in Chile:
Despite the rough conditions that define her everyday reality, a young sponsored girl continues to dream of a better tomorrow. More...
October 4, 2011 – Tags: housing and poverty
Hope on the Horizon in Chile
March 4, 2008 – Tags: from poor to middle class
Sponsorship in Chile
October 20, 2008 – Tags: sponsorship video, Children International sponsorship in Chile