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Santiago Metropolitan Region, Chile

March 13, 2010 to March 21, 2010

Santiago basks in a spectacular setting, with the Andean peaks to the east and a smaller coastal range to the west, framing the Chilean capital. More than a beautiful view, however, this Global Village build gives you an opportunity to be a part of a unique project that helps families of critically-ill children in the Santiago region construct living environments that enable these families to bring their children home to their loved ones.


Chile country profile

About Chile

About twice the size of Montana, but stretched along the western coast of South America, Chile is wedged between the Pacific Ocean and the Andes Mountains. Although it barely extends beyond 200 kilometers (124 miles) in width, Chile makes up for longitudinal mincing by rising rapidly from sea level to 6,000 meters (19,680 feet).

Chile is a highly urbanized country, with nearly 86 percent of its 16.6 million people living in urban settings. However, Chile also has one of the highest economic divides in the word, and the present challenge is overcoming that gap. Habitat is working in the country to make permanent housing affordable for families and to help them secure the right to their own land.

Our team will be building in the Santiago Metropolitan Region, located in Chile’s beautiful central valley, close to the mountains, beach and wine regions. Teams are lodged in the countryside just south of the capital city of Santiago and will build in different communities within the Santiago Metro Region. This central region has a Mediterranean-type climate.

About Habitat for Humanity Chile
HFH Chile was established in 2001, and by March of 2002 the first three homes were built in Caldera.

Today, there are Habitat projects in each of the five regions of the country. Habitat houses in Chile are designed according to the location and each region’s construction methods. All houses use natural light, ventilated interior spaces, durable materials and simple construction plans.

For more information on Habitat for Humanity Chile and the housing needs there, read the Chile’s country profile.

Types of construction for volunteers
Volunteers may assist with home improvements, finishing partially-constructed homes, housing repairs, additions and expansions.

In this particular project, “Our Children Return Home,” volunteers construct modifications and additions to the homes of families with critically-ill children. The poor housing conditions cause the children´s illnesses to worsen, and some must live in hospitals and medical centers instead of at home with their families. With the help of Habitat Chile volunteers, the children can continue treatment safely and comfortably at home with their families.

Our work team can expect to do a variety of different jobs, such as cutting wood, nailing together walls and trusses, tamping foundations, mixing cement, cutting or tying rebar and wire, fixing paneling, installing siding, installing drywall and installing insulation.

Proposed itinerary
March 13, Saturday
: Depart for Chile.
March 14, Sunday
: Greeted at Santiago airport by Habitat Chile staff; shuttles/taxi to hotel in Pirque (near Santiago); orientation with HFH staff member.
March 15–19, Monday–Friday (typical work days)
: Work from 9 a.m.–5 p.m. with lunch on site; free time after work to clean up; evening team activities and free time; afternoon visit to local schools or projects related with local development.
March 20, Saturday
: Cultural experiences with host program staff, such as traditional dance classes, walking tour and some time to get local handicrafts, shopping; farewell ceremony.
March 21, Sunday
: Build ends; transportation to the airport or departure for personal R&R.

Personal R&R ideas
(Personal R&R occurs after the build and at team members’ cost and discretion.)


Teams typically stay the town of Pirque in cabin-style lodging at a retreat center or simple hotel. Generally, teams stay two to four in a room, with shared bathrooms.

Breakfast will be served at accommodations. Lunch will be eaten at the work site, where snacks and water will also be provided. Dinners will likely be at local restaurants.

Trip cost
Trip cost includes: donation to the Habitat host program and HFHI; meals; accommodations; transport (excluding trip participant air fare); medical emergency evacuation and trip cancellation insurance; some local cultural activities and team coordination and orientation materials. The team leader’s trip cost and estimated air fare may be included in the trip budget. The trip cost does not include trip participant air fare, R&R activities or visa and exit fees (Visas are not currently required for US Citizens.).

Team leader
Val Tomey has been involved with Habitat for Humanity International for several years and has led Global Village teams to Jordan, Madagascar, Cameroon and Mongolia. She will be leading a team to Thailand in December 2009. Val has also participated in builds in Bulgaria, India, Kyrgyzstan (twice), Poland and Hungary. She is committed to the Global Village program primarily because she believes in the concept of a “hand up” instead of a handout. “These builds,” Val explains, “also [give] me an amazing opportunity to have a truly authentic experience understanding new cultures and making new friends—to visit places where an average tourist would not venture and to remind me each time of how much each of us needs to appreciate the lives we have.”

As a team leader, Val strives to build teams that are diverse in age, gender, religious affiliation and cultural background. If you feel like you might be a fit, consider joining Val in Chile by submitting the online application. If you have any questions, contact Val via e-mail me at

To apply for a GV trip, please follow the Application Instructions.

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