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VSI expands to serve in Chile


VSI was invited to Chile by the nonprofit Abraders de Caminos, and SERNAM, the Government agency which is similar to Family Services in the United States, for the purpose of improving services for abused women and children. The goals of the visit to Chile was to train volunteers, emphasize the importance of small groups, and to discuss the invitation by SERNAM to manage and operate a shelter for women and children in imminent danger.

Barry Greer spoke with nonprofit organizations, educators, Abridores de Caminos volunteers, and SERNAM’s staff on how to speak to victims of abuse, and how to better understand why victims stay with their abusers. The volunteers and educators, were taught the importance of safety plans for victims. Victims need to be heard by an empathetic listener, who will not judge them for their choices. Participants in the classes, through role play, were able to improve their communication skills, and to recommend victims go to small groups.

“Small groups” is one of the pillars of VSI and is in the mission statement. Every group that Barry spoke with women were opening up and telling their personal stories of how they had been abused. Many of the women had never shared their own experience of abuse openly. Lives were changed and empowered in the small group trainings.

VSI also came to Chile to entertain the idea of managing and operating a shelter. SERNAM is wanting VSI to take over the shelter in Copiapo. After a visit to the shelter and meeting the staff, VSI is going to work with SERNAM in some capacity. The second pillar of VSI is collaboration.agosto 065

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