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Chile, Our Children Return Home Project

July 20, 2013 to July 28, 2013

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About Chile
About twice the size of Montana, but stretched long and skinny down the southwestern end of South America, Chile is wedged between the Pacific Ocean and the Andes Mountains. Barely extending 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 disparities in the word and the present challenge is overcoming that gap. Habitat for Humanity is working in the country to make permanent housing affordable for families – and helping families with children with special needs to continue their treatment at home.

About Habitat for Humanity Chile
HFH Chile was established in 2001, and by September of 2002 the first three homes were built in Caldera.  Today, there are Habitat projects in five of the 15 regions of the country. Volunteers going to Chile will be part of the project called Our Children Return Home.

Our Children Return Home
Children with life-threatening illnesses in Chile are often relocated permanently to medical facilities to ensure the quality of their living conditions. In cases where the children remain in the home, inadequate housing conditions can jeopardize the effectiveness of their treatment. In response, the program Our Children Return Home, aims to bring a light of hope by building or improving bedrooms to these children with special needs, so they can recover in their own home, in a safe environment, and under the care of their families, leaving behind hospitals and children shelters.

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

Types of construction for volunteers
Volunteers may assist with home improvements, finishing partially constructed homes; housing repairs; additions and expansions. Team can expect to do a variety of different jobs depending of the need of the family.

Standard itinerary: 9 days

  • Day 1 (Saturday): Depart from home.
  • Day 2 (arrival day, Sunday): Greeted at the airport by Habitat Chile staff member; orientation and welcome dinner.
  • Days 3-4 (Work days, Monday–Tuesday): Breakfast served before traveling to work site; work from 9 a.m.–5 p.m. with lunch on-site; free time after work to clean up; typical Chilean dinners at hostel; time for team activities.
  • Days 5 (Wednesday): Half work day and time for a cultural activity.
  • Day 6-7 (Thursday-Friday): Work day.
  • Day 8 (Saturday): Work from 9:30 a.m.–1:00 p.m. farewell lunch with families on each individual work site.
  • Day 9 (Sunday): Departure day.

Note: Trip includes special events throughout the week: cultural experiences with host program, such as traditional dance, agricultural and architectural tours, typical food preparation – as well as a farewell activity. 

HFH Chile will determine the best lodging option for the team, taking into consideration group size and proximity to the construction site. Work teams usually stay in hotels that are simple, safe and clean. Generally, teams stay two to four people per room. Rooms typically have a private bathroom, but are sometimes shared. Breakfast and dinner will usually be served where you are staying. Lunch will be at the work site, where snacks and water will also be provided. 

Program cost
(For more details about what is included in this cost, visit Global Village program cost.)

Increase your impact: Take the GV Challenge
Habitat for Humanity is accelerating its work to end poverty housing, and we need Global Village teams to help. Set a goal and fundraise to make your impact last longer than the days you’re in the field. Your support builds more homes, creates resource centers, educates families and advances our projects to build sustainable communities. We’ll even provide tools to make fundraising easy. Take the GV Challenge—join us in sharing our story and building a better world.

Team leaders
My name is Tracy Schottanes and I’m thrilled to share the leadership of this team with a dear Habitat friend, Molly Heyn. I am a third grade teacher in New Jersey, and love spending my summers volunteering and learning about other cultures. This will be my third Global Village team as a leader (Mexico and Guatemala) and my fifth Habitat trip in all (Costa Rica and India). I hope you’ll join us on this adventure to Santiago, Chile!  

Hello! My name is Molly Heyn and I will be co-leading this trip to Chile in July. I am from Detroit, but have been living in Asheville, NC working at the VA Hospital with veterans with PTSD. This will be my third Global Village trip (other trips to India and Guatemala) and my first time as a team leader. I have a great passion for volunteering and international travel. I am very excited to plan this cross-cultural GV trip with my co-leader and hope you will join us for this exciting and special trip! 

Email Tracy and Molly at

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

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