Send a donation to aid Chilean earthquake victims

To make a donation to help earthquake victims, send your check, made payable to “Maryland Province Jesuits Fund” to Maryland Province Jesuits Fund,
P.O. Box 64818,
Baltimore, MD 21264

To make a donation online, go to
and click on the Chile Relief Fund link.

Meanwhile, we'll keep posting updates on what's happening to help the victims of this devastating earthquake.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Not All Who Suffer Are Chilean

The population affected by the earthquake is not only Chilean; there are also many foreign people who were affected. Many Peruvian families living in the capital of Chile have also been hurt by this tragedy. The houses they rented are now uninhabitable. They are living in camps located in plazas, parks, and some of them are even living in the streets.

These days we have worked so hard and learn so much more about our migrant brothers and sisters. Working in coordination with “Hogar de Cristo,” the Jesuit Migrant Service, or SJM, and other civil society organizations, we set a goal to find affordable houses for these migrant families. This commitment is a great challenge for us and we are not sure that we will be able to respond and meet effectively all migrant basic needs.

In the beginning we could not understand why they did not want to go to the shelters. “What is going on?” we asked ourselves. “What is happening with them? Why do they prefer to remain at the camp instead of going to the shelters which are providing temporary housing and supportive services to the affected population?” We realized that their decision was linked to their vulnerability in this country. They are living in a country that is not their own and often hostile.

For all these reasons, it is not enough to take them into the shelters. They are not homeless. They have been working hard and fighting to make their lives here.

They are struggling to keep their lives intact.
They have developed their own support networks; they have their friends and emotional support and do not want to lose them. How are they not going to want to protect that? Could it be that they think that in the shelters they are going to be put at risk and lose all these things and for that reason they prefer to be together in the streets?

The SJM wants to help and support our migrant brothers in a comprehensive way.
We want to put our whole minds, wills, and hearts to work with them, to be with them, to serve them, to defend them, to promote and to empower them. We want to respond to them efficiently serving and meeting their physical, emotional, social, and financial needs. It is very important for us to work in collaboration and coordination with other organizations such NGOs, municipalities and Consulates in order to find the best solutions which will give encouragement and peace to them and us.

-- Nicolas Oelckers SJ

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