In 2014, after a devastating fire, the Luz Divina camp was reestablished on a property of the Archdiocese of Antofagasta, loaned without charge by the Chilean ministry of National Assets.
In January 2015, Felipe Berrios arrived to live at the camp and was reunited with its emblematic leader Susana (Chana) Veliz whom he knew from his time working in the housing project Techo Para Chile in the 1990s. In the beginning, the most important work was to organize the camp and establish a community board of directors comprised of local residents.
That year, the camp was cleaned, houses were configured to form passageways, the power grid was stabilized, and entrance gates were installed. Through this, a stable communal environment – based on a regimen of coexistence and responsibility shared by all families – ultimately transformed the camp into a neighborhood housing 90 families.
In 2016 the Recrea Foundation partnered with Felipe and started the Centro de Formacion La Chimba and the Community Library.
In 2017, under President Michelle Bachelet’s administration and with the support of the Ministry of the Interior, the first transitional neighborhood in Chile was built, based on the experience of the camp Luz Divina. It hosted 170 families that were living in unstable and risky conditions.
Today, the ReCrea Foundation and Father Berrios, with the support of the Chilean government and local community organizations and leaders, have brought 250 more families to the neighborhood; an additional 90 families are projected to be welcomed by ReCrea in 2021, including many from socially and geographically excluded groups from the north of Chile, the city of Antofagasta, and the Chimba sector and the city of Calama.
Felipe Berrios S. J
Is a Jesuit priest dedicated to social equity and the compassionate care of others in Chile, Latin America, Tanzania, Burundi, and the Congo. A large part of his work has focused on expanding access to housing and skills training for displaced persons so that they can realize their dreams and lead productive lives.
Has dedicated her life to supporting personal growth and development through education, skills building, book editing and publication, and the management of social and cultural initiatives. She also promotes community libraries for which she edits and produces children’s literature. Stevenson is the editor in chief at the Universidad Alberto Hurtado, a Chilean Jesuit University where for over a decade she has worked and developed many important literary works and presented them at international book and editors’ fairs. She has been a member of the independent editors’ association of Chile since its inception.