| Aug 8, 2023
Fundacion Sumate celebrates its 30th anniversary!
Thirty years fighting against the educational exclusion of children and young people living in poverty, Hogar de Cristo's Súmate Foundation celebrated its 30th anniversary in May 2023. With a presence in the Metropolitan, Valparaíso, Coquimbo, Biobío and Antofagasta regions, here we tell you how the Nuevo Futuro school in Concepción, which welcomes more than 120 students, works.
At the Nuevo Futuro school, located in the heart of downtown Concepción, Biobío Region, the school's director, Mónica, reconstructs the three decades of Súmate's life.
"In our case, we started 13 years ago, in Lota, but children continue to come from as far away as Hualqui, Chiguayante, Hualpén, Talcahuano, Penco, Tomé. We did not know how far we would go, but that journey later and until now became a place of light, hope and belonging for many children and young people, and also for many people who today are part of this community".
In Santiago, Súmate took its first steps in May 1989, when the first pre-vocational workshops were held, which functioned as a vocational and remedial school for people who had never attended a classroom. The initial headquarters was in Estación Central and then moved to La Granja, becoming what is now known as Colegio Betania. The initiative was extended to La Pintana, Renca, today Padre Hurtado School, and, years later, to Maipú, where the current Padre Álvaro Lavín School is located.
In 2010, after the earthquake and tsunami, the Nuevo Futuro School was born in Lota, whose facilities were moved to Concepción last year.
The idea of moving to another commune that would allow them to have a larger number of students was once again imposed. "Since I took office in 2014, every year it was harder for us to recruit students and reach the kids who were not studying, it was really a labor. I feel challenged when a young person looks for survival in delinquency, when he thinks he has no other alternatives and does not find meaning in his life. To the excluded boys and girls, the school failed them, treated them badly, ignored them, punished them, discarded them, made them feel stupid, badly behaved, complex and without future", says the principal.
The classrooms at Nuevo Futuro School are not like typical gray classrooms. They have round tables with strong colors in the shape of yin and yang. This is to facilitate teamwork and recognize that everyone has their uniqueness and complements the team. For Belén (20), a young Uruguayan woman who arrived in Chile in November 2021, Nuevo Futuro has meant a lot:
-If you come to this school, you will have plenty of support, unlike what I experienced in my country, which was very ugly. Here you can focus not only on your studies, but also on your mental health, because it is very important. If you can look for support from the teachers, look for it; if the school has a psychologist, go to the psychologist. It is very important and it is something that one does not give the importance it has, and in this school that concern exists.