Disaster Relief

Help for the fire devastated in Manila slum

Manila, Philippines

On 16 January 2010, a slum in Manila was ignited in a massive fire, killing a five-year-old girl, gutting over 500 shanties and leaving 4,000 people homeless.

Br. Shantamrita and other volunteers accompanied Phillippines Senator Jamby Madrigal to Paco, Metro-Manila, to provide badly needed relief for over 1,000 families who had lost their homes in a wide-spread and devastating fire a few days earlier.  The impoverished families were now rendered homeless.  The volunteers from Amma’s organization in the Philippines distributed sacks of rice and food in the emergency shelter and at the site of the fire as well.

While the team made their way through the narrow alleys and pathways, the children shouted “Bro!” to Br. Shantamrita, identifying him with the character in a Filipino soap opera series where a young boy would call upon Jesus to enable him to miraculously heal, addressing Jesus as “Bro”.  Apparently, Br. Shantamrita’s appearance and kind demeanor made an impression and reminded Manila’s less fortunate that miracles begin with small acts of kindness.

While distributing the relief packets, Senator Madrigal expressed, “It is always gratifying to feel a part of this human family. With Amma as everyone’s mother, all people become our ‘sis’ and ‘bro’ “.