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Each year hospitals in the U.S. discard literally tons of unused surgical supplies, in addition to replacing millions of dollars of medical equipment. With many in developing nations literally dying for lack of this same equipment and materials, FEDES undertakes bridging supply and demand in a not-for-profit venture.
The dream of FEDES Foundation is to contribute, together with a given municipality and other partners, to the substantial improvement in the quality of life for the inhabitants of the district. Lo Espejo, a district located in the south part of Santiago, is one of those districts.
In collaboration with the government and international agencies, in 2002 FEDES initiated a Vocational Training School program whereby young people from underprivileged backgrounds and/or high-risk youth are taught trades. Later, courses were added for older adults from the same demographic. In addition to receiving an educational scholarship and on-the-job training, students receive help with writing a resume, and applying for and getting a job in their field of training.
Vocational training can lift a woman out their cycle of poverty, as well as establish their worth and dignity, and thus we gear many of the courses in our Vocational Training School to women’s empowerment.
One of FEDES’ more innovative training courses is an Industrial Catering and Food Processing Technologies module. As the only school of its kind in Latin America, this new training course has already proven to be of great interest to both the public and private sectors, in addition to supplying free education and on-the-job training to underprivileged young people.
In the FEDES gastronomy courses, which are taught by licensed chefs, students learn the many aspects of creating appetizing foods along with proper food handling, hygiene, and safety techniques.
Computer and technology skills are becoming essential for employment in almost every industry worldwide; therefore, technology empowerment is one of our greatest tools in breaking the cycle of poverty. Since financially disadvantaged families have limited access to computers at home or school, they are unable to develop the skills required in today’s labor environment for gainful employment.
The FEDES tailoring, sewing and design courses are geared to train socially and economically disadvantaged women, allowing them a trade. Basic business concepts are also taught, allowing the women to create a business plan to start their own micro-enterprise.
This branch of vocational studies includes courses to train nurse’s aides, those who care for the elderly, as well as care for the ill and infirm. The courses provide training for employment in a senior citizen’s retirement center, hospice, or personal residence. Subjects covered include nutrition, administration of medication, basic first aid, safety and hygiene, and other comfort and care practices.
In order to provide socially and economically disadvantaged women with vocational opportunities to lift them out of a life of poverty, FEDES provides a hairdressing course, as well cosmetology courses. Since the women come from extremely poor social strata, they receive subsidies for transport.
This program, which is an essential element of the FEDES Vocational Training School, focuses on teaching small business management concepts and practices to entrepreneurs.
FEDES conducted a training and integration project for mentally challenged young people hailing from poor backgrounds.
This project is oriented toward non-symptomatic HIV-infected people, who are also poverty-stricken and marginalized from employment or labor.
Hearts in Hands (now FEDES) was created to do something to help the children in the community of Huechuraba, one of the poorest sections of Chile’s capital, Santiago. Our work began with organizing a team of volunteers united in the desire to improve the lives of these impoverished children. Our simple goal was to try to bring them some happiness despite their dire living conditions. Through these small beginnings, doors began to open, both here in Chile and in the United States, which has led to our being able to begin pouring a steady lifeline of supplies into this community.