Escuela Fronteras Continues to Aid Victims of Chilean Earthquake

Written By: jeff

Posted On: March 9th, 2010

Last week we highlighted Escuela Fronteras’s donation drive to collect food, clothing and other goods for victims of the Chilean Earthquake.  Given that Chile is a popular travel destination for career break travelers, round-the-world trippers and other long-term travelers, we wanted to highlight a way that people traveling in Chile could do so.  So, if you are passing through Santiago, look up Escuela Fronteras and tell Ale that Career Break Secrets sent you!

To find out how their donation drive went, we interviewed the school´s co-founder, Alejandra Vicencio.

1.  So, how did your collection efforts go last Friday?

Very well. The organization picked up the things we had gathered on Wednesday and Friday. We are still collecting more, so people can continue to bring things to our school. Right now we need more food than anything else.

2.  Summarize for us what specifically you collected and how much.

We collected milk, toiletries (toothpaste, toilet paper etc), non-perishable food like rice, oil as well as clothes, sleeping bags, tents, basically the kinds of things people without access to their houses and basic goods need right now.

3.  Who participated in donating the goods? Was it mostly other Chileans?

All of our staff and teachers brought something. Our students and the members of an Expats in Chile group did too. It must have been 50/50.

4.  Did you get much foreign participation?

Yes, many foreigners contributed by bringing food and clothes, especially students of Spanish and expats living in Chile.

5.  Is there any particular donor or donation that was particularly noteworthy?

The teachers of the school brought a lot of food and clothes. They were very generous.

6.  The donation drive isn´t the only relief activity Escuela Fronteras did this weekend. You also sponsored a volunteer event on Saturday.  Tell us about that.

The volunteer drive went really well. About 20 of us turned up and we went to the offices of FECH, the Federation of Students of the University of Chile. We then volunteered to go by bus to El Monte, a small town just outside Santiago to help pull down some houses that were badly damaged in the earthquake and needed to be rebuilt. We were there most of the day, helping pull the house down, clearing rubble and generally helping out. We got quite dirty but it felt really worthwhile, especially as we were helping the family who lived in the house. Without the help it would have taken them ages to get through what we all did together.

7.  Is there any particular volunteer story that is particularly noteworthy?

Well, we helped a family in particular on Saturday, where half the house was falling apart. We pulled down the whole house, form the roof to windows, doors, etc. The family who owned the house participated all day too, and at the end of the day they took photos with all the volunteers and promised they would send us news on the new house they will try to build. It was a very emotional moment. The mother of the family thanked us officialy and cried a little while doing so. It was a great moment for us.

Also, Escuela Fronteras donated funds to an organization that helps animals in need. A girl on facebook organized a money drive to help the animals that had suffered with the earthquake (they were lost or had injuries): She gathered around USD$1,500 to buy food and take it to different animal organizations in towns in the south. It was a very good idea which we supported as well. I am sure a lot of people lost their houses and families but it is a good idea to think about the pets that do not have a home or food.

8.  What are the ongoing relief efforts Escuela Fronteras will be sponsoring over the next few weeks or months?

We will still be gathering things to send to the south, as the help does not stop and the government will just now start to distribute the funds to reconstruct the towns in the south. We will also encourage our students to continue to volunteer as there is still work to do. We will also be sponsoring a language practice meeting this Friday, in which we will collect also contributions that more foreigners want to bring to the meeting.

9.  How can travelers who are passing through Santiago help you out?

They can bring food to the school and participate in our activities if they have time. We had a few foreigners who were traveling in Chile volunteer with us last weekend. It was nice to have their help.

10.  How can people get in touch with Escuela Fronteras if they want to help?

They can call us at 9189950, or email us at info @ (remove the spaces), or through the website,

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