As part of a new pilot project, the Catholic Social Services (CS) has teamed up with the Chilean Ministry of Social Development and Labour (MSDSL) to offer a Spanish language guide for those looking to register.
The first phase of the pilot project aims to expand the Spanish-speaking community of Chile to a total of 40,000, but the second phase aims to bring in a total number of 300,000 new social workers, teachers, and other professionals by 2020.
The new program aims to provide social services workers in Latin America with the opportunity to work in their own language, and the Spanish language is the main tool for this, according to the initiative’s project director, Maria Rosa Crespo.
Social workers in Chile are the people that provide services to the poor, the unemployed, and anyone who is vulnerable, including children, the elderly, and immigrants.
The program also aims to build bridges between Latin American communities, offering a new model of social development in the region.
Crespo, who has been working with MSDSL for many years, said that her work is often about “bringing people together to build a better world, to overcome poverty and homelessness, to make people feel secure and safe.”
“We are a Spanish speaking country and our people are our greatest strength,” she said.
“It’s a huge challenge to have Spanish language classes in schools and the workplace.”
The MSDSS is also offering a Spanish translation of the curriculum for those interested in working with the community, and is currently running Spanish-language classes for those who have completed a year of training.
While Spanish is a second language for many in the Spanish speaking world, a lot of Spanish-speakers don’t speak it as fluently, and this means that social workers in the Latin American country are often unaware of the nuances of the language, according Crespos team.
For example, many in Chile still use the old Spanish pronunciation of the word “sarabeño” for “sarcodero,” meaning “sarsaparilla,” a traditional soup that contains a mixture of meat, onions, and spices.
While there are many ways to get around this pronunciation, Crespas team is trying to make the Spanish classes a little more accessible by translating the old pronunciation of sarsaparanilla into English and offering a lesson in Spanish.
Cypress Mesa, a community member in a social services center, told Engadgets that he and his colleagues were always worried about their Spanish, but now that they’ve gotten the class started, he’s really excited about what they will learn in the upcoming years.
“The people in the program, they all have a different way of speaking,” he said.
“[But] I can understand it, because they’re working in a different context.
[They] speak English, they’re not working in Spanish, they work in Spanish.”
According to Crespa, there is a lack of knowledge in the social services field in Chile, especially in the areas of health and safety, social work, and youth.
The program is now taking place in three areas in Santiago, with more classes planned to be added.
“We’re going to create opportunities for people to come and work and do this,” Crespi said.
The students in the classes will be able to work for free, and they’ll have the option to take a Spanish course at home to make sure they’re prepared for their first day in the classroom.
They will also be given an orientation about the language and social services in the country, so they will have a better understanding of the work they will be doing.
The team is hoping that this will help bring a greater level of understanding of social services and social workers to Latin America, which will also help improve the health of the country’s aging population.