A statement from Founder and President
Dr. Jorge Rojas Zegers
HOW IT ALL BEGAN…
In 1976, being a young surgeon, I had the experience of receiving a 6-year-old patient in a hospital in the city of Santiago, Chile with 70% of his body burned. Together with a group of professionals we managed to save his life, after performing multiple skin grafts for a period of 100 days, performing a procedure that was carried out for the first time in Chile. After this, we understood that his healing process was just beginning and that we had to do something about his scars, which covered practically his entire body and would get even worse as the patient grew older. After this, we thought that this long and expensive treatment should be available to all children with burns who needed it, and we decided to found The Burn Center Aid for Children Foundation (COANIQUEM).
Like that, COANIQUEM was born, a private non-profit organization that provides comprehensive and 100% free rehabilitation to children and young people with burn injuries, trains professionals and in turn conducts research and prevention programs. Since 1979 we have traveled a path that began with a small Rehabilitation Center located in the city of Santiago, and that later led us to be a project of national scope in Chile. Over the last 20 years it has become a continental program, benefiting 20 countries in Latin America and The Caribbean islands, with the support of our foundation based in the USA: COANIQUEM BCF Burned Children Foundation.
The creation of COANIQUEM BCF dates back to 1998. As COANIQUEM we had already been working for 20 years with various countries of the continent and we decided to take a step forward and settle in the United States with a foundation that would allow us to create new alliances to continue growing as an institution, and to get new donors and benefactors that with their support, allow us to fund our work for burned children of the continent. In these years we have had the support of hundreds of people who have given us their donations, for whom we are very grateful. We have also received support or recognition from important organizations in the USA such as Rotary International, World of Children, Packard Foundation, together with the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California, among others. We have also been accredited in the United Nations Department of Civil Society Organizations and since 2015 we have had the tax exempt status – section 501 (c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code.
Members of our Board are especially significant. For years they have supported children with burns in a selfless way, developing multiple initiatives mainly in California, Miami and Washington.
Today, in a rising interconnected world, I dream of an increasingly comprehensive international program of rehabilitation, training and prevention, without barriers for children with burns in Latin America and the Caribbean. I invite you to dream together.
COANIQUEM THROUGHOUT THE YEARS
- 1976: First Patient (José contreras).
- 1979: Foundation of COANIQUEM.
- 1981: Opening of COANIQUEM Center in Pudahuel
- 1994: first international patient received in COANIQUEM
- 1998: creation of COANIQUEM BCF Foundation
- 2000: Winner of the Fight of the Titans contest, Miami USA, Pro Max meeting, on maximum advertising effectiveness in public good campaigns, organized by the Sky Latin America television channel.
- 2001: Ivy Price, awarded by the Ivy Interamerican Foundation, Washington D.C. USA to Dr. Jorge Rojas Zegers. Award given annually to a person in Latin America, for their contribution to the well-being of children internationally.
- 2002: Distinction Partners in Service, conferred by humanitarian aid at international level. Rotary International District 5170, California, USA.
- 2002: Expansion of the International Program to the Caribbean with the incorporation of Professional Professionals from El Salvador, Rep dominicana, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Cuba, Pto Rico and Nicaragua.
- 2003: Recognition of COANIQUEM BCF with the tax exempt status – section 501 (c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code.
- 2004: Rotary Service Above Self Distinction awarded by the Board of Directors of Rotary International.
- 2006: NEW YORK USA, Dr. Rojas Zegers receives the World of Children Award from the World of Children Foundation
- 2007: Representative of Latin American NGOs to the NGO / DPI Executive Committee of the United Nations (Executive Committee of NGOs in the UN Department of Public Information).
- 2013: COANIQUEM starts being supported by Pro Bono Foundation
- 2013: Healing Cloud.
- 2013-2014: International prevention program in four countries.
- 2013 – 2019: Program with design students of Art Center College of Design, Pasadena.
- 2017: World of Children Hero Award, Beverly Hills, CA, USA. Awarded by the World of Children Foundation to Dr Jorge Rojas Zegers. – received a grant for the training of professionals of Santiago del Estero, Argentina.
- 2017: Tribute from the Latin American Federation of Burns FELAQ, Lima, Peru to Dr. Jorge Rojas Zegers, for his long career in prevention, teaching, research and treatment of burn patients.
- 2018: Presentation of the Prevention Campaign NO MORE FIRE before the OAS and the Department of Civil Society Organizations of the United Nations.
- 2019: More than 500 health professionals from 20 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean have been trained by COANIQUEM. 240 patients from various countries in Latin America and the Caribbean have been fully rehabilitated and free of charge at COANIQUEM´s facilities in Chile.
- 2020: Campaign for the Prevention of Burns in children with Perú, Bolivia, Colombia, Honduras and Costa Rica.