Padre Las Casas is a city in the Cautín Province of the Araucanía Region in Chile. As of 2022, it has a population of approximately 85,000 people.
The Araucanía region has one of the highest poverty rate in Chile, with over 17% of the population living in poverty.
Families often move from the surrounding rural areas to the urban centres like Padre las Casas in search of a better life.
Since 2008, SOS Children’s Villages has been supporting children, young people and families and advocating for their rights in Padre las Casas.
Around 40% of the population in Padre las Casas is Mapuche. There are high poverty levels among the Mapuche, and this is perpetuated by their low educational levels. Up to 80% of heads of households have less than 4 years of schooling.
Their children in turn often drop out of school at an early stage, and sometimes have to work. These circumstances worsened with the lockdowns during the COVID-19 pandemic: children did not have access to the technology they needed to continue their schooling. Children and young people need more support so that they can become independent.
The Araucanía region, where Padre las Casas located, has one of the highest poverty rates in Chile. Studies reveal that the indigenous Chilean population suffers from higher levels of poverty than the non-indigenous Chileans.
Although living in a protected area, the Mapuche have limited access to social benefits that would alleviate poverty. Between efforts to uphold and maintain their culture and keeping up with modernization, many Mapuche have left home to find employment opportunities elsewhere. However, without the education levels necessary for them to succeed, many need extra support.