Happy Hearts Fund Celebrates The Nuevo Futuro School Extension Opening in Chile
Today we celebrate the opening of the second floor extension of the Nuevo Futuro School, in Lota, Chile, which coincides with the two-year anniversary of the school. This opening marks the first extension built that serves teen students and has managed to create a successful second-chance opportunity focusing on vocational training.
The 2010 Chilean earthquake destroyed 1,450 homes and damaged more than 2,000 businesses and schools in the region of Concepción. With a population of 48,000 inhabitants Lota is one of the most impoverished towns in Chile. After the local economy plummeted and opportunities disappeared, most were forced into a state of chronic poverty. 33% of Lota’s population lives below the poverty line with less than 300 US dollars per household per month. The significant amount of damage has increased the lack of opportunities for the most vulnerable, those without educational training.
As part of the reconstruction plan, The Happy Hearts Fund and our partners, SURA Chile and SUMATE, have teamed up to provide not only an amazing school but also a very innovative educational experience. SURA Chile has not only generously matched our financial contribution to rebuild this vital part of the community, but their dedication, commitment and passion to help the community of Lota thrive is unparalleled. SUMATE’s role has been focused on providing an education to students that have left school by extenuating circumstances and want to go back to study. Also generating opportunities for students to have further technical training.
In April 2015, we gathered with community members, students, teachers and our partners for an opening ceremony to celebrate the construction of the school’s extension. After the opening remarks a ceremonial ribbon was cut with Petra, our partners and other government officials in attendance. The celebration continued with a student musical performance as well as a beautiful luncheon for the entire school and staff. During this time the Happy Hearts Fund team members we able to speak with students about their dreams and ambitions in life. Our executive director, Olga Ruggiero, was overwhelmed with happiness as she was able to witness first-hand how these schools can change lives for the better.
We would like to thank SURA Chile and Súmate for their commitment to the children and young people who are part of the education project of the Nuevo Futuro School. Through our alliance with SURA Chile and the Súmate Foundation, the intent to offer new opportunities to children who are re-entering formal education, will be a reality.