Four hundred thousand souls live in the poblacion of Jose Maria Caro to the south of Santiago, most of them in very poor circumstances, which have been greatly worsened by run-away inflation.
The majority of families have no more than about £30 a month on which to keep at least four children. Nearly all their money goes on food: bread, noodles and meat soup made from bones. Adults and children alike suffer from malnutrition and in the one-year age group 20-30% of Chilean children show signs of nutritional deficiencies.
A nursery centre, it is hoped only the first of several, has been set up in the poblacion to nourish the children, help their social development and to provide courses for mothers in home hygiene, economics and first aid. One of the most important aspects of the school's work is to improve eating habits and to give mothers some insight into dietetics. Training courses have been started for teenagers in environmental hygiene, nutrition as applied to the preparation of local food, and first aid. CAFOD made a grant of £2130 towards this work. The centre will continue as long as the need lasts and will benefit successive generations of children.
The generosity of the people of England and Wales has brought hope to Santiago youngsters. It is one of hundreds of CAFOD self-help projects in the developing countries. There are many, many more that desperately need and deserve aid but which we cannot help without your support. Please send a donation today.