Fifty years ago, a group of sisters from the Company of the Daughters of Charity traveled through the poorest places of Santiago rescuing and giving homes to hundreds of children and teenagers. Today, that same spirit of love is still alive and present. And it still transforms many other lives.
In the last few years, Chile has become a major host country for the migratory flows in Latin America. This is evident if we look at the statistics. As of now, the rate of the foreigners who are part of the national population exceeds 9%. Thirty years ago, this rate did not exceed 1.5%. This population context is very complex because neither the Chilean state nor the Chilean private sector were ready for this situation or the large migratory flow.
Furthermore, the people who have decided to come to Chile, migrated – and still migrate – thinking that their quality of life will be better here. They hope to feel safe here, to get higher social security, better access to health care and education for their children. They also think that their financial situation will get better in Chile and they hope to get paid more for their work. Unfortunately, the reality that we can observe is almost always very different from their expectations and much more tough.
In our social work at the Regazo Foundation, we understand the difficulties of forced migration very well– whether because of the lack of an economic future, and/or the political-social crises which the countries of the southern hemisphere experience very often. That’s why our gaze is focused mainly on creating space for intercultural dialogue for the hundreds of people who migrate to Chile. And to help lift them out of poverty.
One of the important results of this social thinking is the Regacito Kindergarten (@regacito) and the MIGRALAB project (@migralab.chile). They are two sister projects based on work with migrant children and teenagers that seeks to guarantee a protective environment, both for them and for their families; an environment that is fully inclusive, helpful and supportive.
“A family that migrates is not just a story and culture that move from one place to another. It’s also a hope and dream about a society that would welcome this family in justice, respect for their rights and with some new opportunities” – says Sister Germana Tola, Italian missionary and migrant, who is the current director of the Fundación Regazo. Her words reflect the intercultural approach of our foundation which is based on the belief that acceptance for migrants should be practiced in daily life – listening and supporting those who need asylum and want to change their life for the better.
“We would like to invite you,” says Sister Germana Tola, “to learn about the wonderful work of Regazo, a social foundation. We would like to have contact with the Vincentian Family all over the world to maintain a dialogue and share experiences about the changes that we can make together to help the people who have decided, alone or with their families, to cross their borders – the borders of countries, cultures and of poverty.”