Santiago (Chile). On 17 May 2023, a day of colors and acrobatics characterized the inauguration of the “Salesian House” in the Municipality of Lo Prado, Santiago de Chile, belonging to the Province of St. Gabriel the Archangel (CIL), “a place of prevention, development, and transformation of life”, as described by those responsible for the project of this work.

Participating in the inauguration were the Provincial, Sr. Ximena Oyarzo Mansilla, and her Council, the management team and staff, the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians of Mary Help of Christians Community of Maipú, boys and girls, beneficiaries of this project and their families. Also present were the mayor of the Municipality of Lo Prado, Maximiliano Ríos Galleguillos, and representatives of an insurance company, benefactors of the Congregation in Chile.

Fernando Castillo, Director of the “Salesian House”, and Sr. Ana Cecilia Aguilar, Legal Representative, recount the journey to arrive at this day of joy and hope for many children and young people:

The team of the former Casa Inés Riesco Llona in Maipú, which for 41 years provided assistance and protection to girls in the residential mode, after a year of reflection and analysis of the new public policies, guidelines, and government regulations, arrived at the conclusion that they were far from the mission and vision of the Educating Community.

Sr. Ximena and her Council, who in turn proposed to dream big, were invited to bring about the merger of two works: the Inés Riesco Llona House and the Laura Vicuña Day Center, under the protection of the religious community Mary Help of Christians Maipú and of a single management team. This is how the “Salesian House” was born with two offices, one in the Municipality of Maipú and the other in the Municipality of Lo Prado.

A multidisciplinary team is responsible for carrying out the mission in both locations, with the aim of preventing and contributing to the global development of boys and girls at social risk using the Salesian Preventive System.

Currently, 60 children of different nationalities are welcomed at the Laura Vicuña Salesian House in Lo Prado, offering support and accompaniment after the school day. This takes place through a daily program – from Monday to Friday – which includes scholastic support, workshops for the development of skills, professional accompaniment, and family support aimed at the education of children.

In the headquarters of the Inés Riesco Llona Salesian House in Maipú instead, during 2023 the goal is to provide complete assistance to 10 families, with the aim of preventing the children from entering the judicial system, which in the future could lead to early institutionalization. To this end, workshops will be held on parenting skills, community network management, education, health, housing, and psychosocial support, in order to improve their quality of life.

During the inauguration, Sr. Ximena Oyarzo Mansilla expressed her gratitude to all the people who contributed to the history of both merged works, and encouraged them to continue to be the Salesian face in the area where they are located so that many children can continue to find an educational environment in which to grow, learn, form themselves, and be happy together with their families.

Photos: Flickr CIL


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