In the vast and diverse world of Santiago, the multidisciplinary team of social worker Claudio Polloni is looking for students for the socio-educational program of Fundación Súmate.
-The teenagers excluded from the school system in 2020 increased by 40.000, according to the authorities. They are in all the communes and corners of Chile, but, despite this, it is difficult to find them and seduce them into going back to school, because many times they themselves do not know that they need us, that they require school. Such is their level of deprivation and other emergencies, that for them schooling is not a priority. That is why they must be approached thinking about their needs: a trade workshop, which allows them to learn a job to generate resources and overcome the economic problem, is a priority. Or a digital training course or a support workshop in mental health and self-care.
The professional says that children and young people themselves become invisible, busy as they are in their daily survival. He points out that, for this reason, these Súmate socio-educational programs have been refocused, putting all efforts to restore the right to education to the most vulnerable within the vulnerable.
Today they have 360 vacancies and so far they have only 304 students attending virtual classes and workshops. 52% of them are women, they are between 8 and 21 years old, they are two years behind in school and / or that same time out of school, the highest percentage is in second grade. Some of them are also pregnant. Claudio comments that it costs less to re-enchant young women, women, in these hard times with their unemployment quotas, lack of income, illness, risk of contagion, domestic violence. Get them to re-signify school experiences, which, in most cases, have usually been very frustrating, offering them concrete and practical tools.
-How can children and young people so vulnerable and with so many socioeconomic difficulties connect digitally? With what tools? How do they do that?
-The digital literacy issue is a central, critical issue. The teenagers have no problems with social networks; in that world they handle themselves perfectly, no matter how modest the cell phone they have. The problem is in their ignorance of work programs such as Power Point, Word, Excel and with platforms, such as Meet and Zoom and others. That makes it difficult to do remote classes. There you can see their ignorance and their need for training. The good thing is that this year we have a hook to attract them: we give each enrolled student a free connection chip for the whole year. That solves the connectivity issue for us, which in 2020 was critical. Now, with this resource, if we lose contact with any of them, we go out to the field to locate them and find out what is wrong with them.
-The accompaniment we do consists of a reception and diagnosis stage and the construction of an individual work plan that can include workshops focused on pedagogical leveling, development of socio-emotional skills, recreational, cultural and sports activities. We also seek that the boys and girls manage to validate their studies, certify them for their educational continuity and / or enrollment in educational establishments. We do this in a blended and / or completely virtual way, depending on the sanitary conditions in the territories –explains the social worker.