A foundation dedicated to helping homeless children in Venezuela’s Vargas State has announced is celebrating nine years in operation.
Venezuelan food sector entrepreneur Mauro Libi Crestani founded the Casa Hogar Foundation in 2008 in response to an influx of children living on the streets of Vargas. It has paid for housing, education and medical care for 146 children since its founding.
“These children were abandoned by their parents,’ Crestani said. “It’s heartbreaking. Everybody needs a family.”
Crestani said that 12 Casa Hogar “graduates” are now in college.
Vargas suffered what many believe was Venezuela’s worst natural disaster in 1999, when a mudslide killed an estimated 10,000 to 30,000 there. The community never recovered economically.
“Someone had to step in and do something,” Crestani said. “I wish we could do more.”
Casa Hogar signified its anniversary with a evening gala that included the children. They received soccer equipment and uniforms as gifts and were treated to music by a local youth symphony orchestra .
Food processing and philanthropy
Crestani is the president of the food processing company Avenas Inproceca. The company is one of the main oat processing and distributing companies in the country of Venezuela.
He began in business after becoming inspired by his father, who was an entrepreneur. When he was 16 years old, Crestani studied management in Milan, Italy.
He came back to Venezuela a decade later in 1996 to become a food industry entrepreneur. His first job was at his father's company, where he ran a team of 33 people.
Casa Hogar Al Fin Foundation
The foundation is located in the town of La Guaira. It has the capacity to serve up to 75 children at any given time.
According to their age, kids receive an education through the foundation's various alliances with local schools. The foundation pays for the education.
Of the total number of children who have passed through Casa Hogar Al Fin since its founding, more than 50% have been able to be reinserted into new families, and have been able to develop professionally thanks to the help of the Foundation.