Country of Origin:
Immigration, Human Rights & Social Justice, Refugee Experiences
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In his home country of Ecuador, Hernan was working with native and peasant communities. As a consequence of helping people to build hope and fight for human rights, he was forced to become a political refugee. He came to Canada in 1993 and settled in Toronto. He could not speak or write English, and it was very difficult.
Then Hernan started using one of his skills in order to survive - he started playing guitar and pan flute on the streets, subways and other places. He started playing every Sunday during the summers for a group of Latinos who were victims of alcoholism and were sleeping in the parks of the city.
A few years later, he became ordained as an Anglican priest. During his first four years in the priesthood, he organized the ‘Caravan of Hope’, an international project to support people living in poverty. They drove a caravan of buses from Toronto to El Salvador and Guatemala, a 12 day journey. When they arrived, they distributed school and medical supplies and food to the poor communities, and then flew back to Toronto, leaving the buses there for the use of the community.
Hernan is a founder of the Latin-American Community Centre, three international festivals in Toronto (Inti Raimy, Abya-Yala and Chola Cuencana), and the first Latin American community radio station in Canada.