At the beginning of March, a disastrous fire broke out in the Parola slum of Manila, where the Salvatorians have set up the local relief organization Puso sa Puso and are in their 5th year of running ALSA BUHAY, an alternative education program for the children of the slum, as well as a number of collateral activities in support of the children and their families.
The fire seems to have caused no casualties, but it has affected about 5,000 families which are homeless or displaced.
Coordinated by Fr. Artur Chrzanowski and Sr. Frances Mangabat, SDS the staff and the German MaZ (“temporary missionaries”) volunteers are cooking and distributing meals and collecting in-kind donations to be given to those who lost everything. They also restarted the school, where and whenever possible, even in the open-air, so that the traumatized children have the feeling things are going back to normal.
Also from abroad there has been much solidarity: The German Province and the Australian Region have immediately launched a fundraising campaign, and SOFIA has obtained emergency grants from the Diocese of Augsburg and from an Irish donor agency which only a couple of months ago had visited the alternative learning program and very much appreciated the Salvatorian activities in the slum.