What is señora Carmen doing on top of those rocks in San Juan de Lurigancho in Perú? She is simply leaving her home to go to the market to buy food for her family. Her house, a shack made of scrap materials, was put together overnight on a hilly area near Lima.
Like señora Carmen, thousands of poor and desperate families leave the mountains to relocate closer to the city where they hope to find work. Brother Steve of the Congregation of Christian Brothers has been working with volunteers to build better and safer homes for these families for almost a decade. Here in Perú, this phenomenon of migration and in most cases illegal occupation of land is called “human invasion.”
“A few weeks ago,” Br. Steve explained pointing to a desert hill, “there was another human invasion. The police intervened with helicopters to chase away these desperate people. They ran away, but they will be back soon. They do not have any other place to go.”
Br. Sean Moffett and I visited several of these shacks, like the one of señora Carmen. A family of five or more lives in one room with no water, no sewage and sometimes no electricity. Children play with abandoned tires or homemade soccer balls on the dusty streets.
Nearby, down the hills, the Christian Brothers provide their services to the “Fe y Alegría” (Faith and Joy) school where most of these children can get an education and a nutritious meal every day.
The requests from these desperate families cannot be met by the Christian Brothers alone and A Chance In Life is considering supporting them. “We work where the paved streets end and the desert begins,” said Br. Richard, a volunteer at the school. And in San Juan de Lurigancho, there is a vast desert filled with families whose children are looking for a chance in life.
Let’s change that. Together we can.