You might describe 2020 as a year of great uncertainty. Yet for Via International and the community leaders with whom we work, 2020 has been a year characterized by great RESILIENCE.
Political and social unrest, the global pandemic and overall economic turmoil has upended the lives of so many. Via is responding to these pressures by working with trusted and emergent leaders in under-resourced communities to help guide and administer programs desperately needed now more than ever. We are continually inspired by the resilience and creativity of these leaders and hope you will be too.
Your year-end gift enables grassroots leaders to respond to the urgent needs of their communities and build long-term sustainable community development.
You may have also heard stories of migrants “stuck at the border.” Draconian policy changes on the border go by many names – “remain in Mexico,” “zero tolerance,” “catch and return” – but they all have the same effect. They have dramatically reduced the already slim chances for asylum in the United States, and they have created a serious humanitarian crisis along the U.S.-Mexico border, exacerbated by the current pandemic.
The majority of these new arrivals will end up becoming permanent residents of Tijuana, whether or not we see any shift in asylum policy. Tijuana has always been a city of migrants, and just like previous generations of new residents, the latest waves of new arrivals will need to forge their own pathways to self-reliance.
This is where your support of Via, and our extensive network of community leaders comes in. For 45 years, donors like you have understood that with the proper tools, individuals, families and communities can thrive. Thank you!
This year, through your contributions and through the perseverance and resilience of staff and community leaders, Via successfully launched VIA MIGRANTE, taking the lessons learned from our unique model of community development, and applying them in support of the newest populations of migrants arriving in Tijuana (please see the back page of this letter for more details and photos of the Via Migrante program).
In yet another demonstration of resilience, community leaders (“promotoras”) from our network have been busy the last six months, distributing over 14,000 meals in low-income neighborhoods, to shelters, and community centers for migrants and deportees.
This immediate response to the humanitarian crises would not have been possible without your support, and without the tenacity and flexibility of grassroots leaders who demonstrate what true resilience looks like. This food aid program has helped to stabilize this population while moving toward the overarching goals of the VIA MIGRANTE program – providing newly arrived migrants with the tools for long term self-sufficiency.