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Caritas beneficiaries in front of their new home built by Caritas Credits: Caritas Chile

Caritas beneficiaries in front of their new home built by Caritas
Credits: Caritas Chile

Just last week, another 20 families in Curanilahue in Chile could move into their new houses.

Providing people who have lost their homes with decent shelter has been a major focus of Caritas’ rehabilitation programmes after the 27 February earthquake.

So far, Caritas completed 235 new homes for earthquake victims and repaired or improved 594 homes.

“Receiving the keys to our own house is a great joy for us, even greater when you consider that this help has come from so far away. We finally have a decent home! We were waiting for it eagerly after what had happened to us. I thank the team of Caritas and all who helped and are helping us,” said Juana Carrillo, one of the beneficiaries from Curanilahue.

In addition to the reconstruction work on houses, Caritas has fitted out 54 toilets in rural areas and delivered 432 household item kits to families who lost all or part of their belongings in the disaster.

The beneficiaries selected for the shelter programme are extremely poor families. In most cases, they have no access to the benefits provided by the Chilean government.

The newly built houses are 30m squared, made out of wood and have two bedrooms, a multi-purpose space and electrical power supply. Most of the beneficiaries were actively involved in the construction of their house.

All through the process, the beneficiaries are supported by specialised technicians. People have been trained in construction techniques, a skill that will help them maintain their houses in the years to come or even to repair damaged houses in case of further natural disasters.

This aspect of sustainability and empowering people is crucial to Caritas rehabilitation programmes.

The same principle is at the root of the livelihoods rehabilitation programmes which supports more than 600 small family or cooperative businesses. People are encouraged to set up or develop small businesses, such as agricultural, commercial or handicrafts activities, and receive training and advice on how to improve their output.

This way, families can diversify their sources of income and strengthen the income of their communities overall. A special focus is laid on activities run by women.