Corporate Volunteering

Corporate Volunteering

For the third year in a row, we continue to show our commitment to the corporate volunteer program which is aimed at involving SQM employees in areas near the operations where they work, thereby creating ties and commitment as well as fostering a greater sense of social work among our employees. Additionally, this type of community work leads to new team dynamics and ties with the participating students’ families who also joined in at times.

These projects are both social and educational in nature and emphasize support for technical/professional education in the towns located near our operations and offices. SQM employees volunteering for these educational programs have experience in these fields of work.

The works carried out are diverse and vary according to the requirements of each community, the characteristics of each territory, the needs detected and partnerships formed with foundations and corporations.

The corporate volunteer program had outstanding results in 2019, with 311 volunteers donating a total of 127.5 hours of work.

VOLUNTEER SUPPORT FOR TECHNICAL PROFESSIONAL EDUCATION IN ANTOFAGASTA AND TARAPACÁ

We continue working with the establishments that we have signed cooperation agreements with in previous years such as the María Elena, Tocopilla, Calama, Pozo Almonte, Antofagasta and Alto Hospicio Technical High Schools.

The aim is to optimize training for future professionals through technical assistance, motivational and technical talks, on-site visits, equipment and by bringing outstanding students into the Company for professional internships.

This year we hosted 332 students who did their professional internships with us. This figure is much higher than last year’s 168 interns who worked at various SQM production centers. SQM employees with professional training in the technical careers taught at the high schools are in charge of providing this support to students through the corporate volunteer program “Lend a Hand to your Community.”

MARÍA ELENA | SUPPORTING TECHNICAL-PROFESSIONAL EDUCATION

SQM funded upgrades at the María Elena Technical High School’s chemical laboratory. The upgrades consisted of installing modern equipment, new AC, a new storage area and replenishing chemical supplies and materials, which directly benefited more than 30 students. This will make it possible for students to continue their studies and perhaps, eventually, work at SQM sites in the future.

This effort was instrumental in motivating 50% of the students in 2019 (more than in 2018) to choose chemistry as a technical career path, after having been involved in an educational experience that ties academic knowhow to hands-on field work led by SQM employees.

SALAR DE ATACAMA | CLEANING UP THE STREETS OF TOCONAO

Volunteers also carried out other noteworthy activities in the Municipality of San Pedro de Atacama such as cleaning the main streets of Toconao, where they were joined by 35 students from the Antofagasta School, community members and military personnel.

IQUIQUE | UNITED FOR CHILDHOOD

For two years now SQM has been working with the María Ayuda Charitable Fund in Iquique as part of the SOFOFA-run “United for Childhood” program under which member companies sponsor an institution.  Company volunteers have worked alongside young girls performing a variety of different activities, such as cleaning the dunes on Cerro Dragon, beach excursions and visiting the former saltpeter operations at Humberstone.

The Company also sends an annual donation to the foundation to make improvements to the residence.

ALTO HOSPICIO | SUPPORTING THE ALTO HOSPICIO COMMUNITY ASSOCIATION

As part of our social volunteering, Nueva Victoria site employees worked with the Un Techo Para Chile Foundation, neighbors and students from the Santo Tomás Technical Education Center on building a fence around the facilities and making some upgrades to the community center at the former Ex Vertedero camp. All told, the work consisted of installing a perimeter fence, repairing light fixtures, finishing the garden and revamping the electrical system initially installed by students studying electricity at Universidad Santo Tomas. Additionally, students from the same university held a dental health clinic with dental hygiene students and physical trainers who tended to the small children at the camp.

MARÍA ELENA | Teen-Friendly Space

Another volunteer effort carried out in María Elena consisted of setting up a “Teen-Friendly Space”, which consisted of revamping the building with help from neighbors and staff at the local clinic in charge of the program.

Volunteers built a path from the clinic that leads directly to the container that was set up as an office (and donated by SQM). Volunteers also set up a green area and painted the new facilities.  But before doing this work they had to clean up the entire site, which was being used as a small dump.

TOCOPILLA | WORKING FOR EARLYCHILDHOOD EDUCATION

SQM employees, parents and guardians, and teachers at the Estrellita del Pacífico Preschool that serves some 90 children from Tocopilla’s Pacífico Norte neighborhood, worked together on a series of projects such as reinforcing the facility’s security fencing, installing automatic emergency lights, replacing sinks, painting the entire facility, creating green areas, and covering and padding metal columns to prevent accidents, among other enhancements. These improvements are helpful in moving along the Ministry of Education’s certification process.

Ninety-seven preschoolers are registered at this establishment that is also part of the support network for the Tocopilla Penitentiary, where inmates help by preparing materials and building furniture for the school.

SAN PEDRO DE ATACAMA | SUPPORTING SENIORS AT THE SIMON BENITEZ CENTER

SQM volunteers made a series of upgrades possible at the Simón Benítez Senior Center in San Pedro, which has some 90 regular members. After several days of work over a few months, SQM volunteers and staff from the club officially inaugurated the upgrades. Beginning in June 1981, this center has provided a place for seniors to socialize with peers and take part in a series of social and recreational activities.

SAN PEDRO DE ATACAMA | “OJO DEL DESIERTO” MAGAZINE ALSO AVAILABLE IN PRINT!

Thanks to the volunteer program in San Pedro de Atacama, the digital journal published by young journalists and managed by the Alto Jama Neighborhood Council will expand its coverage through a printed version, available to readers who do not have the opportunity to read the on-line version on either a computer or a smart phone. The magazine expects to reach all neighborhood council members with its printed version and the rest of the community with the digital version. Fledging journalists sat in on a journalism workshop designed to underscore the media tools available to journalists today.

ANTOFAGASTA | IMPROVING INFRASTRUCTURE FOR GIRLS

Volunteers in Antofagasta headed to the Laura Vicuña Residence (part of the Hogar de Cristo) to provide assistance to the 15 at-risk girls ages 13 to 18 who live there. Volunteers worked for three days painting the dorm rooms and setting up furnishings purchased for the rooms and common areas.

SANTIAGO | GREEN AREAS FOR SAN RAMÓN

SQM volunteers in Santiago came out to support youngsters at the Ángel de la Guarda daycare center in San Ramón run by the Cristo Vive Foundation. Co-organized with the Patio Vivo Foundation, this activity involved planting trees and painting the main courtyard and its immediate surroundings, turning it into a playground where children can learn and have a place to be.

A total of six tree species were planted (jazmin, rue, jacaranda, quillay and pear) in a 100 m2 courtyard and along a straight line in front of the education center that tends to more than 150 at-risk children ranging from daycare age to upper secondary age.

SALAR DE ATACAMA | TOCONAO, IN FULL COLOR!

Community members, the local neighborhood council, SQM volunteers, 39 students from Universidad del Desarrollo and Swiss students from the 2019 Magellan Project joined forces under a project that brought both color and life to one of the most iconic and traditional sites in town. The entire group worked together on beautifying Toconao’s main square and its surroundings. They painted benches and seats; cleaned up the gardens; painted the neighborhood council building; and more, as part of a grand gesture of support since this is one of the most frequently-visited tourist attractions in all of Toconao.