When part of Marta Rocha’s home began to burn after an electrical short circuit created flames inside her home on February 24, 2022, she and her three children were dining out with family members. When they returned, most of their belongings, including beds, kitchen appliances, furniture, and clothes, were completely consumed by the resulting fire.
Although the structure of the house survived, Rocha was desperate. She, along with her brother, inherited the house from her parents. The house is located in the Maria Ancer community, better known as Pancho Villa, not far from Adventist-run Montemorelos University in Mexico.
“She not only lost most of her material things but the way to earn money to feed her children,” Nalda Hernández, who coordinates community management and vision of service among university students in nearby communities, said. “This has brought a lot of stress to Marta, who has already been struggling with health issues like diabetes, hypertension, and obesity.”
Hernández was contacted by community leaders who wanted to help. Montemorelos University students immediately assisted Rocha and her family with cleaning up the home and worked on procuring resources to assist her in resuming her way of earning money to support her family.
Students from the university’s Health Sciences and the School of Music helped to clean the house and gather the few items that Rocha and her family were able to salvage. Faculty and staff joined the efforts to work on the logistics of needed funds to assist the family, explained Hernández.
“We were able to put together basic needs like food while they moved to live with a family member nearby,” Hernández said.
In addition, professionals from the Montemorelos University School of Architecture have begun evaluating and studying phases of rebuilding the home, especially the roof, university leaders said.
Members of the university church and community have already been taking in donated items, equipment, and money, and have enlisted volunteers to assist in the home reconstruction.
“As part of the support being offered to the Rocha family, the university reached out to the Family Care Center on campus to offer psychological support and provided tools to overcome the crisis they have gone through,” Hernández said. Financial resources and support are still needed for Rocha to recover her home so she can move back with her family, she added. “This is the time to put mission into action,” Hernández said.
Plans are underway to deliver beds, mattresses, and financial assistance for the family. Community service coordinators hope to see the house rebuilt soon so the Rocha family can return to their home.