Last April, wildfires struck the hills of Valparaíso, burning nearly 3000 homes and leaving 11,000 displaced.

Although The Valpo Surf Project is not a disaster relief organization, our team has come to know Valparaíso as home for the last 5 years. With that in mind, the program has made multiple, successful efforts to do what we can to provide help for our community. Using their network of contacts, the VSP was able to provide reconstruction materials and contribute to the relief services after the catastrophic fires. Such networks were used to collect food, cleaning products, clothes, bedding, and tools to families across Valparaíso, specifically in Cerro La Cruz and Cerro Litre. Additionally, The VSP had an active role in organizing groups of volunteer trips into the hills for reconstruction labors.

Along with the overall help the VSP has provided to the community of Valparaíso, the project has been fortunate enough to focus in on one family and provide specific assistance. Like many families, the Olsen family of Cerro Litre lost their home and were evacuated during the wildfires. Don Alejandro, Patricia, and their two sons, Hans, 19, and Patrick, 12, have been the focus of VSP’s support. With the help of our colleagues–architects Claudio Andrade, Felipe Ehrenfeld, and Ignacio Orfali–the VSP has been able to directly work in the reconstruction of an affordable home for the Olsens.

In addition to these architects, our hard-working volunteers, the Valpo Surf Project was also met with an outstanding reaction to their call from help. Donations and supportive contributions were made on behalf of many generous parties including Colegio Los Alerces of Santiago, Volcan, Fourcase, Aimia, and Limari Lighting Design. The Valpo Surf Project, the Olsen family, and community of Valparaíso are very thankful to everyone who has played such a helpful role in this difficult time.

Due to the excellent response the VSP received, there has been significant progress at the Olsen house work site. The following are photos from recent days working in the hill. As you can see, The Valpo Surf Project has had and will continue have a strong impact in the life of the Olsen family.

Don Alejandro in the second floor of the house in progress.

Max, a Valpo Surf Project intern, painting the roof siding.

More hard-working hands at the worksite.

The team from Limari Lighting Design installing electricity in the house.

A street view of the house & some of our team.

VSP Intern, Leah, painting the roof siding.

Jon, Director of VSP, and Felipe, architect, cutting pieces of roof siding for the house.

Another shot of the second floor.

Don Alejandro and a fellow architect, Ignacio, working together on the roof.

Claudio and the beautiful house so many people have worked on.