Education  Chile Project #42817

Empower and educate teenage mothers in Chile

by Fundacion de Beneficencia Hogar de Cristo
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Empower and educate teenage mothers in Chile
Empower and educate teenage mothers in Chile
Empower and educate teenage mothers in Chile
Empower and educate teenage mothers in Chile
Empower and educate teenage mothers in Chile
Empower and educate teenage mothers in Chile
Empower and educate teenage mothers in Chile

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. 

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We hope this message finds you well and that you are handling these uncertain times as  good as possible.

From Hogar de Cristo we wanted to let you know our current situation of our organization in Chile and how we have been carrying out our project focused on young mothers.

As you may already know, in Chile, more than 200,000 children and young people are outside the educational system. With the current health crisis this number will surely increase. Women drop out less, but when they do, they don't return. School exclusion is much more damaging and limiting future opportunities for girls and young women since they tend to stay at home, sacrificing their right to education, taking care of housework, younger siblings or an older or disabled relative , so that adults can go out and generate income. For the most part, it is the issue of caring for others that is behind female dropping out of school, which includes that of their own babies, in the case of teenage pregnancies. And although these have been decreasing in recent years, according to 2018 figures, 50% of pregnant schoolchildren do not continue studying.

Gender inequality is then expressed in this fundamental right -education-, which is also key for the promotion of people and so that poverty does not continue to reproduce inter-generationally, from grandmothers to mothers and from mothers to daughters. In Chile, three-quarters of those who neither study nor work are women. Apart from that, only 48% of women participate in the labor market and, on average, receive 25% lower remuneration compared to men. Although there are several factors that influence this gender inequality, one of the most influencing is the educational system.

Due to the pandemic, education became much more complex than usual. In Chile, Face-to-face education has not returned. Furthermore, the country is facing a new wave with new communities in quarantines.

Our students have needed more emotional support than ever. They have shown how much they miss the protective space of the school and we have responded with constant monitoring online, giving distance classes through our Virtual Learning Classrooms and creating new workshops to motivate them and continue teaching. We never lost contact with them. These new learning experiences are now a successful reality. Young mothers are super grateful, they perceive us as a recess from everything bad. For them it is a moment of relaxation, a space for personal and group care. We work with a wide variety of topics, topics that they themselves raised with their tutors that we later transformed into new workshops.

We have been able to achieve this transformation because of your support. Your contribution has meant being able to continue providing quality education to hundreds of young mothers throughout the country. We work so that many more can complete their educational careers and their personal dreams, without sexist barriers or economic, social, cultural limitations. So that the "intersectionality" of their disadvantages: being a woman, a mother, vulnerable, part of an indigenous minority, living in a rural sector, do not become the sum of all evils. We really thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your help that is giving hope and a future to so many young people.

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It has been a year that no one will easily forget. In March when the pandemic began, all members of the education system - students, teachers and directors - thought that the emergency would last a couple of months. They never imagined that it would last the whole year.

However, Hogar de Cristo has adapted quickly to the new way of teaching and supporting people in need. We began a profound process of digital transformation with the objectives of reaching more young people with their educational paths interrupted, being more flexible in their accompaniment and providing them with a comprehensive education that includes the development of social-emotional and digital skills.

Liliana Cortés, director of Súmate, explains: “This project complements our service and gives the foundation an injection of energy to be able to reach more young people and in a better way. It is an opportunity that arises from the pandemic, the suspension of classes and the fact that we had no way to reach the students directly. In this search for alternatives we find the great opportunity offered by the digital world ”.

Súmate trusts in the high potential of these children and young people, including young mothers who have huge gaps in general and digital knowledge, but which with proper guidance are possible to overcome. “It is a huge challenge to reduce the digital divide in which the young people we work with and their families live. We do not want them to be left behind again in this development in which Chile is embarking. If we do not put a sense of urgency on this issue, we are going to generate inequality again in the world of education ”, added Liliana Cortés.

To this end, the goal was to enable virtual learning spaces that allow the accompaniment service to be taken to the next level. Currently, they have three projects under construction:

 

  • FLOPPY: It is an application through which the participant can develop socio-emotional skills that aim at greater well-being, while motivating him to continue his educational career through gamification - which is a learning technique that transfers the mechanics of games to the educational-professional sphere - and constant positive reinforcement.
  • EVA: It is a virtual work modality complementary to the face-to-face one. These are virtual classrooms or other platforms in synchronous and asynchronous format, which are adapted to the needs of the participants. In this way, digital literacy will be promoted and strengthened and will make it possible to move towards a hybrid model of work - face-to-face and virtual - with young people. Socio-educational accompaniment will be made more flexible.
  • CRM: It is a transactional system that allows to collect and systematize the information of the entire participant process based on instruments, work sheets, development of an accompaniment plan, monitoring and generation of reports. It has the benefit of having the information in a single platform and having reports and quantitative data in a dynamic and efficient way.

The challenges and opportunities involved in implementing these three paths requires, of course, funding, training in Teams for Education, preparing content for the application and for virtual classrooms and, in addition, seeking connectivity for young people.

Furthermore the methodology to to follow-up one by one with the students have being carried out via telephone, WhatsApp groups and video calls in case the students need some kind of containment.

Our priority was to make sure they have access to online classes. We have gone out the same to the field at least once a month, either to deliver merchandise or chips that would allow them to have internet on their cell phones to those who did not have.

It has been a huge effort by our tutors, teachers and students but the fruits are in sight and our commitment to not leave anyone behind is more valid than ever.

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In these times of COVID-19 emergency, we are facing unprecedented challenges in our daily activities. Our educational centers have closed following government measures but we have continued with our classes, workshops and support through distance education.

Without a doubt, having to work remotely has been a complex issue for many of us, especially for those who directly care for children and teenagers. Despite this situation, the professionals of our different programs and schools have managed to continue providing socio-educational and/or pedagogical support to the beneficiaries in this context of a pandemic. 

Regarding new students, despite this emergency situation, we made the decision to start diverse projects online to maintain permanent contact with them in order to generate links and to develop a pedagogical and psychosocial diagnostic process. In this time of uncertainty, it is key to continue providing our services and to be as close as possible with our students in order to prevent drop outs. 

For example, in one of our projects for young people who have been out of the school system, Jara, a Technical Advisor in the Advisory area, points out that "it becomes clear how important it is to bond with young people and to introduce them to the people who are entering their lives, it is a fundamental step in the process". As a result of this, during the second week with suspension of classes, a team made up of two teachers, a social worker and the coordinator of the program decided to present themselves by video to the young people so that they could put a face and voice to the people who were working with them.

Furthermore, this year the experience with the families of young people has been different: "This year we met with families who are super interested in the process and in daily contact with the social worker. There has been a process of bonding with parents that is very strong."

We have also developed a platform for sharing videos, and workshops to continue education but also to become a meeting point for students and teachers. 

We are committed to the education of Chilean youth and mothers and we will continue fighting so that no one is left behind. Your help has been essential to achieve this goal.  We would also thank you for future help as  it is important to continue counting on you to bring technology to these young mothers so despite the pandemic, they can continue receiving education.

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Greetings from Hogar de Cristo

 

Thanks to the strong support from you and other different donors, Hogar de Cristo is now part as a permanent online member of GlobalGiving and ready to support young Chilean teenagers. We will like to express our gratitude to you for making this happen. 

 

With this campaign, we have raised so far  $90 for supporting young chileans mothers by providing them comprehensive and quality education and workshops in a safe environment. We have had 3 donors and we are working on increasing the scope of our campaign.

 

This project is part of our program “SUMATE” which we have been working for more than 25 years. Its objective is to ensure the educational trajectory of children and young people through programs of retention, re-entry, reintegration and projection of their studies, transforming their quality of life and social inclusion. We will have our disbursement from GlobalGiving soon and we are already working on the project by procuring the items needed for the education of these teenage mothers. Some of the teenagers are already having support and sessions with our educators; 

 

We will continue focusing our efforts on this an new campaigns that we will be launching soon. We will keep you posted with updates on the donation utilization and on this new campaigns.

 

Once again, we thank you for your generous support. 

 

Daniela Tosti-Croce

Project Leader

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Organization Information

Fundacion de Beneficencia Hogar de Cristo

Location: Santiago - Chile
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @Hdecristo
Project Leader:
Daniela Tosti-Croce
Santiago, Chile
$3,706 raised of $25,000 goal
 
23 donations
$21,294 to go
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