What is Proyecto Génesis? This project is an outreach program within our local church that serves in a government run protection center in a suburb called Pudahuel in one of the poorest sectors of Santiago. For the past three years our church has had rotating teams that have visited this center on Saturdays, spending time with the adolescents, investing in relationships and teaching them values and life skills through a Biblical view. Most importantly, our church has been sharing God’s unconditional love with these children who feel unloved and forgotten.
This center is part of what is called SENAME here in Chile. SENAME is a government-run minor protection program that has the responsibility to protect the rights of minors and adolescents before the law. These children range in age from 0-17 years old and often have highly complex cases that include any combination of the following: abandoned, prolonged dropout from school, problem with drug use, violent and abusive family situations, victims of child labor and/or sexual exploitation and convicted of a crime, among others vulnerable situations. As a result, the state has separated them from their family in order to protect them and work to find a healthy solution so as to reintegrate them into their homes if possible. Unfortunately approximately 20,000 children fit this profile in Chile and are in need of protection. There are approximately 280 homes that serve as temporary places of protection for these vulnerable children and adolescents.
Proyecto Genesis is our church’s outreach program which Alonso and I lead and that serves in one of these centers for adolescents ages 12-17 on the west side of Santiago This particular center is divided into four smaller homes, two for the boys and two for the girls, which is total approximately 100 children. Currently we have about 45 committed volunteers which gives us the capacity to visit 2 of the 4 homes on a bi-monthly basis and the other 2 homes on a monthly basis. Our goal by the beginning of 2017 is to grow our volunteer basis and consolidate our serving teams in order to visit all 4 homes every other week.
The mission of this project is to reach out to the young children and adolescents in Chile that are abandoned and forgotten and teach them valuable life skills and values through the Biblical worldview and the Bible. Our vision is to establish a model that can be replicated and used by different churches across the country to serve in these government-run homes in all of Chile. There is so much need and our church alone cannot combat this problem, but united as the body of Christ we are capable of so much more. We desire to bring churches together to share the love of Christ to children who are outside of the system and so often forgotten.