In February 2010, an 8.8 earthquake and tsunami hit off the central coast of Chile affecting 25% of the national population. To date, it is the sixth largest in recorded history. The earthquake devastated much of the coast of Chile, displacing thousands of people into camps (some families for as long as 3.5 years).
The Harvard academic community had many connections to Chile before the earthquake and felt the need to reach out to the communities still languishing from this horrific event, thus in the fall/winter of 2011/12, the collaborative program of Recupera Chile was created.
Recupera Chile embodies Harvard collaboration because from its beginning it has brought together faculty and staff from the Harvard Kennedy School, Business School, Medical School, Graduate School of Education, School of Design, and the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies (DRCLAS) Regional Office in Santiago. Since early 2012, this Harvard multidisciplinary effort has collaborated with Chilean academic, non-profit, and private and public sector organizations to bring about effective change from within the affected communities so that all projects and initiatives can be self-sustainable.