Twenty years has passed since TECHO started in Chile and arrived to 19 Latin American countries. Since then, more than a million volunteers have been involved in the reality of slums and worked together with the residents on construction projects of emergency housing, community infrastructure, education, and employment.
“We are recognized as an organization that is fundamentally built upon the combined effort of young volunteers and people who live in informal settlements from diverse countries, who assumed their local reality and that of Latin America as their own responsibility. They translated their indignation into commitment that is carried out within and outside of TECHO,” says Laura Sanchez, the Director of Teams of TECHO International.
According to the United Nations, the current number of youth in Latin America, 106 million, is one of the greatest in history. For Sanchez, this constitutes a historic opportunity: “We are in critical moment, with uncertain situations, in a Latin American region that is known as the most mistrusted and unequal in the world. Because of this, it is critical that the young assume volunteer work, above all, as an act of citizenship, to reconstruct our social fabric and become protagonists in the future of our countries.”
According to data provided by TECHO, 59% of people who participated in the organization’s activities are women; 16% of the total volunteers were between the ages of 15 and 20 and 61% were between the ages of 21 and 29. The other 23% are made up of a wide age range from 30 to 50 years old, made up of teams of volunteers from businesses that work with the organization. Approximately 83% of the participants are from Latin America. “Reality leaves more and more evidence of the importance of addressing inequality of our countries with an international perspective. In a time where speech is aimed at closing doors, it is key to affirm that our countries are already in permanent dialogue through its own people who move to seek and exercise their rights to build their dream society. Volunteerism does not know borders and organizations like TECHO are the result of this reality,” concludes Sanchez.