More than 100 students in the small community of Aquelarre have returned to class for the first time since their school was severely damaged by the 8.8 magnitude earthquake that struck Chile in February 2010.
Barrick funded the reconstruction and expansion of the school, which was the first in the country to be fully rebuilt following the earthquake. The new school has a sports field, better classrooms, and more space for recreational activities. Barrick also installed a computer lab in the school as part of the Class 21 program. This collaborative educational partnership with the Cisneros Foundation, Intel and Barrick aims to bridge the digital divide by introducing computer technology to classrooms in underserviced regions of Chile.
“We were extremely pleased to help the community with this project, which has put more than 100 children back in the classroom after a difficult period,” said Igor Gonzales, president of Barrick’s South America region. “Our task does not end here however, because we’re also supporting the reconstruction of Boyeruca School, and a boarding school in Vichuquén.”
In addition to rebuilding local schools, Barrick is also helping to restore damaged heritage buildings in the region. The town of Vichuquén is designated as a national historic site in Chile, but many of the area’s colonial facades and structures were badly damaged in the earthquake.
To assist, Barrick engaged experts from Peru’s state construction agency SENCICO, which has pioneered earthquake resistant construction techniques for adobe buildings. These professionals held workshops to train local residents and tradespeople on how to rebuild and preserve the region’s historic architecture.
Barrick also signed an agreement with Chile’s National Monument Commission and the municipality of Vichuquén that will see the company contribute money and technical expertise to reconstruction efforts.
In the immediate aftermath of the earthquake, 250 volunteers from Barrick and two partner organizations worked to build emergency homes in several quake-affected communities.
Barrick supported the construction of 200 emergency houses, the first phase of a $5 million, long-term plan for reconstruction in Chile’s coastal region of Maule, which was hit hard by the earthquake and subsequent tsunami. Following the earthquake, the company also donated 8,000 liters of water, mattresses, pillows and blankets to local residents, many of whom had lost their homes.