Kayak Sport Company / Cobquecura
Local micro/craft brewery / Cobquecura
Three years after one of the largest recorded earthquakes and ensuing tsunamis in human history, the dust has settled in south-central Chile. Larger, urban cities like Concepcion are well on their way to a full recovery, but in smaller, coastal towns that were nearly completely destroyed, recovery is an ungoing process, with social/cultural, economic, community health and education and built environment issues still ubiquitous in the tiny village of Perales and slightly larger towns of Cobquecura and Dichato. Through targeted projects and ongoing recovery work, Recupera Chile continues its commitment to help the people in each of the three communities to come together and continue the fight for recovery.
Tourism in Cobquecura is a fast recovering and changing industry. Many of the more traditional tourists who visited before the earthquake came to experience the historical architecture (adobe) and charm of the town. Since most of the historical buildings were destroyed, fewer tourists come for the same reasons as before and Cobquecura is doing its best to adapt. A microbrewery run by local entrepreneur, Matias Piceros, helps to build up Cobquecura's tourism offering and create a brand for the community as a fun weekend destination for young adults.
Aside from surfing, there were not many outdoor activities for tourists to enjoy in Cobquecura. Recupera Chile backed local entrepreneur, Maria Elvira Orellana in her plan to start a small business that provides kayaks in the shallow estuaries of Taucu, a small town adjacent to Cobquecura. In addition to adding a new activity for tourists to enjoy, Maria Elvira's business also provides local employment for young Cobquecurans.
An organized approach to managing the recovery needs of each member of the community was sorely lacking from Dichato. Recupera Chile has implemented a case management system to work with the citizens of Dichato to ensure that no one's needs fall through the cracks and that ongoing interaction occurs between the residents and our team to ensure full and long term recovery.
Since the earthquake, there has not been any formal tourism agency in Coqbuecura. When tourists arrive, they can go receive a bit of brief information and a map, but no guided tours were a part of the economy until Wahidy El-Jatib's recent Recupera Chile-backed company entered the market. Two types of tours are offered: bike tours of all of the beautiful natural surroundings (including a massive sea lion colony) and walking tours of the historical area. Both provide tourists with a unique and memorable experience that will have them returning to Cobquecura and spreading the word about it's revival as a tourist hot-spot.
Adult and youth health case management / Dichato
Tourism agency / Cobquecura
PTSD is a very common medical problem for children in the wake of earthquakes (or any natural disaster). Chile was no exception. Dr. Carlos Haquin is the southern Chilean version of Patch Adams who has teamed up with Recupera Chile to provide psychological care and social interaction exercises for the youth of Perales.
All three of the towns where Recupera Chile operates face deficiencies in early childhood education. Compared to national averages, these towns' children underperform on verbal test scores nearly across the board. Very little exists in field of strategic education planning to address this issue, so Recupera Chile has teamed up with the world-renowned program, "Un Buen Comienzo" to provide training to local teachers on how to leverage their existing curriculum and books to achieve better test scores and higher vocabulary proficiencies in the earliest years of childrens' educations.
The socioeconomically disadvantaged children of the towns of Dichato and Perales often do not receive the most basic preventative medication for their vision and dental care needs. Often times, an underperforming child will go months or even years before it is noticed that he/she suffers from a vision impairment which may be the source of the young student's academic challenges. Recupera Chile has brought in vision and dental care for the youngest, most vulnerable citizens of Dichato and Perales.
In an economy as small as Perales' and with the meteorological challenges presented by it's location, the recovery process has been slowed by a lack of sustainable, healthy food supply. Recupera Chile sourced funding to build greenhouses for over 10 families in Perales to provide them with the food they need to survive and, in many cases, with their first chances to own and operate a small business or bartering system.
Clown Doctor youth PTSD and psychological therapy / Perales
"Un Buen Comienzo" Education Intervention / Cobquecura, Dichato, Perales
Green houses / Perales
Youth health screening initiative / Dichato, Perales
As Cobquecura adapts and tries to reach more international tourists, many business owners have discovered that their inability to communicate in English has been an enormous hurdle. Recupera Chile provided a two month, intensive, tourism focused English language training for 15 local entrepreneurs who now greet their English-speaking customers with a hearty, "Welcome! Come on in!"
In a mostly cash-based economy a single ATM that was often out of service or out of funds was seriously damaging the growth of Cobquecura's economy. Entrepreneurs estimated that they were losing nearly 20% of their customers simply due to the fact that there was no cash available and most businesses do not have the capability to accept other forms of payment. Furthermore, with no method to deposit money and only one option to pay bills, the financial services available to tourists and locals of Cobquecura alike were very limited. Thanks to the generous support of Banco de Chile, Cobquecura now has both a new ATM and a new service center for deposits and bill payments.