Chile – "Registro Circuito de Calle": when technology directly benefits young people at risk

14 October 2019

(ANS - Santiago) - Tomàs, a 14-year-old boy, is hungry and is scared. For three months, since leaving home for fear of a violent uncle, he has spent his nights on the streets of Santiago. He can't ask the police for help because he was caught stealing to eat, and drug dealers and gang leaders seem to be his only friends - but their generosity has a price. Like Tomás, there are plenty of minors abandoned and alone along the Santiago streets. It is for these kids that the "Fundación Don Bosco" and Microsoft are working together to track them down and give them a second opportunity.

The humanitarian organizations that offer help to street children must face the fact that these children are constantly on the move. This is why the "Fundación Don Bosco" has created an app, "Registro Circuito de Calle", which allows sector operators to monitor the territory and increase the chances of meeting with street children.

Developed with "Microsoft PowerApps", the app uses geo-referenced data and Microsoft Power BI visualization capabilities to locate these vulnerable young people. In the first four months of use, the app has helped operators reach and serve 10% more children, and the tool is being considered for use at the national level.

"Chilean street children are invisible to many people. This application allows us to highlight the situation in an undeniable way. Before, our team employed up to 40 minutes of work in the office for research on just one child. Now with this app, it takes 20 seconds," explained Sergio Mercado, Executive Director of the Salesian foundation.

Today when social workers come into contact with a young person, they use GPS mapping to signal their position and add the information available on that young person. The more the positions are mapped, the clearer the movements become. For example, thanks to the app, the team identified trends that help them find and help street kids: when police pressure increases, many kids flee to the train station; moreover, some addresses that frequently appeared were dwellings of drug dealers and traffickers …

Furthermore, the protection levels built into the app, permission-based sharing guarantees and the monitoring of any suspicious activity ensure that the data on these young people does not end up in the wrong hands.

Now, in short, thanks to the “Registro Circuito de Calle” app, when kids like Tomás disappear, the operators of “Fundación Don Bosco” have better opportunities to find them quickly.


ANS - “Agenzia iNfo Salesiana” is a on-line almost daily publication, the communication agency of the Salesian Congregation enrolled in the Press Register of the Tibunal of Rome as n 153/2007.

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