A few hours after the earthquake we visited several places where the disaster occurred. We saw thousands of children and older youth wandering around the streets, parents running around looking for a bit of food and as we passed by we asked ourselves: What would Don Bosco do in this situation? And what would the Salesians do? How can we help these young people with nothing to do while their parents are in the middle of the reconstruction work? The answer was given to us by our founder: create Salesian oratories.
In these circumstances, we as Salesians cannot stop offering the biggest possible help to our brothers of these destroyed areas with great needs. We started to call for volunteers, which was a great success. Happoly and optimistically, 70 young people from the Salesian youth movement showed up, anxious to give their time and everything possible to the hundreds of youngsters from the South.
WHY DID WE PICK THE CHINCHA PROVINCE?
The provinces that have suffered from the earthquake do not have any Salesian presence; nonetheless, many of the Salesian Cooperators live in in Pisco and Ica; they and their families have suffered and continue suffering from these natural disasters.
Our desire to help the South has been to establish Salesian oratories. In this way they can be home, school, church and playground to each young person in need. We have started the oratories only in the Chincha Province.
Chincha belongs to the Ica Department, 180 kilometers from the city of Lima. Peru’s Capital. Its territory covers 2998 km2 and its population is about 177,000 habitants. The Chincha province has 11 districts two of the most important being; Upper Chincha and Lower Chincha.
THE SALESIAN ORATORIES
From the beginning Don Bosco looks at the life of young people based on joy, freedom, playfulness, and hope. Knowing clearly that all children and older youthe should be respected and loved; avoiding any type of violence either physical or psychological. Efforts such as these are what we hope to transmit through this project. Preparing elements that help to stimulate and bring up our youth. Providing Youth animation, evangelisation, development and social insertion, based on values like solidarity, cooperation, mutual respect and team work.
We aim then to be a launching pad for initiating projects of solidarity and mutual help that can help to bring back and renew hope and happiness among our youth.
Our work is not simply philanthropic, it is an integral work that implies the material and spiritual dimensions. We are convinced that under the guidance of Don Bosco and Mary Help of Christians we will manage to be an excellent venue to entertain, educate, instruct and teach moral values, at a time where children and youth of the south are in need.
Up to now we have created four Oratories in Chincha.
- Oratory of 'Don Bosco' (Low Chincha)
- Oratory of 'Mary Help of Christians' (Tambo de Mora and Vilma Leon)
- Oratory of 'St. Francis De Sales' (In San Antonio de Salas)
- Oratory of 'Ceferino Namuncura' (In San Felipe Chico)
Since September 8 hundreds of young people have taken part in this social work. There they find a space for human and spiritual formation, moral support, education, and recreation through animation complemented with different workshops. (Arts and Crafts, sports, dance, drawing and scholar tutoring)
The youth volunteers are divided in two groups, which alternate with each other. Early each Saturday we depart with 35 volunteers and we station ourselves with our tents in Low Chincha; from there we leave immediately to the rest of the oratories. We stay until the following day. Each week we gather on the street, the park, the dirt field. Our only interest is to bring happiness to those hundreds of children, who are already used to our presence and week after week anxiously wait for our arrival.
The people have received us with open arms. Each week the oratories have more and more newcomers; youngsters as well as their parents.
NEEDS AFTER THREE MONTHS.
The needs that emerge after a natural disaster are immense; one of the elements is that children and adolescents' needs tend to be overlooked.
Three months after the earthquake, progress is not seen especially among poor people. Food hasn’t arrived, people are sick, children start having health problems, the health of the elderly worsen because they are living outdoors, adults must find a job to survive and each day life there becomes less and less bearable.
San Felipe Chico is the zone where the “Ceferino Namuncurá’” oratory was founded. Poverty is extreme, approximately 2000 adults plus 200 children live there; It seems that the tragedy happened just yesterday; remains of the destruction remain on the streets. “It is impossible to continue living this way, a mom said. We are all sick and we don’t know what to do. Dust is unbearable. During the day we can’t live in the tents because they are made of plastic, and at night the cold and humidity dampen the floor” The life of our brothers here is truly difficult.
A ROOF FOR A FAMILY
Our brothers from the South have lost everything. They don’t have a house. They sleep outdoors. Children and elderly continue to sleep on the streets. The families are poor; they don’t have any money to rebuild their houses. Financing programs for the construction of new homes and construction of emergency homes has not arrived to these villagers yet.
Slowly a few people have started rebuilding their homes with the same materials as before, “adobe” made from clay is very vulnerable to the effects of natural phenomena like earthquakes, rain, and floods.
A great majority cannot even re-build their homes with adobe. The scarcity of suitable refuges, forces many children, elders, and those who are sick to continue living in the street, without roof or walls that protect them from the cold and from the heat.
The scenery is distressing. The province of Chincha is lacking the basic amenities: water, sewage system, electricity; there are no centers of health. The towns remains in ruins. Houses are completely destroyed. There are many families that have not been provided even tents.
With the finality of simplify in portion the actual problematic of the people de scarcity of materials for their provisional homes.
We have supplied:
- Esteras (no translation for this one)
The development of the oratories and all the help that we have been able to bring to these needy people has been possible thanks to the support of the Salesian Congregation in Peru as well as the Provinces of Bonn and New Rochelle.
Purpose of the work
- The work seeks to provide help to the most needy: Children and older youth affected by the earthquake.
- Evangelise and educate through Don Bosco’s style.
- To achieve an effective and significant presence in the place.
- To create a solid base for the continuity of the Salesian oratories.
Who are the recipients (type of youth etc.)
- Children who have suffered because of the earthquake
- Youth who wish to help out.
Number of young people / People that use the services of the work.
- 600 Children and older youth from the area.
- 70 volunteers
- Oratories where Christian formation is offered
- Medical help.
- Provided Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and dinner.
Name of the person in charge of the work.
- Fr. Jesus Jurado SDB. Supervisor of the work.
Number of lay collaborators
- 70 divided in two groups. Each weekly work group is made up of 35 volunteers (both groups alternate weekly)
- Other lay people from the area who collaborate in other activities.