Habitat Global Village CHILE | Santiago – Getting Started

Habitat for Humanity Chile has built houses in partnership with more than 12,000 families across the country. There is continuous construction in each region of this, the longest country in the world, and various new communities are in the process of establishing an affiliation with Habitat. These accomplishments are due in great part to the dedication and commitment of many national and international donors and volunteers. Our Global Village Team is excited and happy to be a part of all those volunteers!

Unlike most countries in Latin America, Chile has a government-funded housing subsidy. The Housing and Urbanization Department (MINVIU) offers several housing programs, each one with unique characteristics and targeted populations. Unfortunately, these programs are not well implemented and often require a down-payment that many Chileans can’t afford. Additionally, the subsidized homes are usually too small for a family to live decently, even for those that can afford the down-payment. Frequent natural disasters add to the problem.

The Team, Habitat Construction Supervisors, Mario (our driver), Claudia (our translator)
and Claudia and her family.

Our project is different still. We are working under the “Our Children Return Home” Project. The primary objective is to make sure that an existing house meets the necessary requirements to allow a child with special needs to return home from the hospital permanently, eliminating extended stays in hospitals or treatment centers.

Enter Claudia and her family.

Me, Mike, Claudia, Ximena (Claudia’s mom), and friends and neighbors
who cooked lunch for us every day.

Claudia, was diagnosed as having hydrocephalus and paraplegia upon her birth product of her malformed spine which contributed to the development of an irreversible hernia in her spinal cord. She has undergone a variety of surgeries since her birth, the most recent due to a neurogenic bladder. She lives with her family, in a two bedroom house, both bedrooms on the second floor. Her brother carries her up the stairs to get to the room they still have to share.

The staircase in Claudia’s house.

Despite the medical struggles and complications she has endured throughout her life, she has flourished into a beautiful 24-year-old young woman, graduated from High School and has a college degree in business administration. Although she continues to rely on a wheelchair to get around, she is highly independent using public transportation regularly. She counts with the love and support of her parents and siblings.

We’ll be building a bedroom on the first floor of a home to give Claudia access, privacy and autonomy she deserves.

And we can’t wait to get started!

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