TECHO is a youth led, non-profit organisation that seeks to overcome poverty in slums, through the joint work of families living in extreme poverty and youth volunteers.
Our operation was founded in 1997 by a group of young Chileans, united in the belief that it was possible to eradicate poverty in Latin American slums. The sense of urgency and need for shelter that Chilean slum residents exhibited encouraged these initial TECHO volunteers to build transitional houses alongside a number of families. This group of young people focused their energy on finding concrete solutions to the problems that the communities faced every day.
This initiative became an institutional challenge that today is shared across three continents. In 2001 we began our organisation’s expansion across Latin America, opening our most recent branch in Venezuela, at the end of 2010. In Latin America we currently work in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay, and Venezuela.
By 2010 TECHO had operations in 19 countries across Latin America and the Caribbean and had grown to include two offices in the United States. By 2013 TECHO had expanded to Europe, establishing our first European office in London, UK.
TECHO’s 67 global offices remain united in their belief that poverty can be permanently eradicated if society as a whole recognizes poverty as a priority and actively works towards overcoming it.
To this end TECHO pursues three strategic objectives:
(1) The promotion of community development in slums, as we work alongside our beneficiaries to enable them to generate solutions to their own problems, through a number of diverse community development, leadership and strengthening processes.
(2) Fostering social awareness and action, with particular emphasis placed on using the skills and determination of young volunteers who engage directly and work alongside families living in slums. By engaging these two distinct social groups, TECHO’s interaction model also generates an encounter between two realities, encouraging critical and long-term reflections on Latin American poverty from future societal leaders.
(3) Political advocacy that promotes necessary structural changes to ensure that poverty is tackled in a sustainable and definitive way.