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PERU: People in remote area receive medical supplies, food baskets

Salesian missionaries launch initiatives to help those impacted by COVID-19 in San Lorenzo


(MissionNewswire) Salesian missionaries in Peru have launched a broad array of initiatives to help those impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. One of the most significant is the campaign “Together for the Datem.” This campaign was organized by the Salesian parish in San Lorenzo and has raised enough funding to purchase four oxygen concentrators and 104 oxygen cylinders for those with COVID-19 within the Salesian Province of Datem del Marañón.

This remote area is often forgotten and people have few, if any, resources. A radio play, a lottery for a car and other activities were organized with the unanimous support of citizens, businesses, organizations, and municipalities. Members of the San Isidro community didn’t have funds to send, so they collected salted fish and brought it to the parish. Money from the sale of the fish went to help support the campaign. Aid has also come from abroad.

“We have witnessed very painful situations, and COVID-19 has brought death and doom,” said Father José Kamza, director of the Salesian Center in San Lorenzo. “The vast majority of people were left without daily income during the state of emergency. The greed of speculators for medicines and oxygen cylinders has come to the surface, but greater was the goodness of heart that shone in the initiatives encouraged by the Salesian missionaries.”

Fr. Kamza added, “Without health professionals, care teams, medicines and facilities to treat the sick, there was nothing but divine consolation. First of all, bringing the sacraments to the sick. Then, accompanying the families of the deceased to the cemetery to pray. Through Masses, prayers and spiritual assistance, they felt accompanied and comforted in these trying moments.”

Close to 1,800 families, out of 6,000 who live in the province of Datem del Marañón, received food baskets in the months when they could not work regularly. Food aid was provided to people in San Lorenzo, cities along the river and Indigenous communities.

The parish was supported in this initiative by the Peruvian Don Bosco Foundation, Caritas of Yurimaguas, and the Salesian Mission Office in Warsaw, and through the contribution of other private and state institutions.

Salesian missionaries also helped people in San Lorenzo and neighboring communities understand what subsidies they qualified for, such as subsidies for rural workers and self-employed workers, the #Yomequedoencasa bonus, and the Universal Family bonus.

Fr. Kamsa noted, “Salesian Brother José Gallego has become an expert in subsidies and grants, various pension, and administrative procedures. The Salesian parish was the only institution where those who did not have an internet connection could still access these services.”

Also, through the Don Bosco Foundation, the Salesian parish was able to purchase medications to help patients in the communities of San Fernando, Kuyuntsa, Wijint, Andoas and Puerto Alegria, and for families in San Lorenzo.

Peru faces high levels of income inequality and has more than a quarter of its population living in poverty, according to the World Bank. Poverty levels are significantly higher in rural areas but urban areas struggle most with inequality, most notably metropolitan Lima. Poverty in the country is made worse by a shortage of productive farmland and a lack of job skills among women entering the workforce, as well as a lack of adequate housing, nutrition and education.



ANS Photo (usage permissions and guidelines must be requested from ANS) 

ANS – Peru – “Salesian solidarity in the Amazon”

Salesian Missions – Peru

World Bank – Peru

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