Voices from the Border

A nonprofit organization

$37,369 Raised by 151 Donors

75% complete

$50,000 Goal

Voices From The Border is a 501(c) 3 non-profit organization based in Patagonia, Arizona, that formed following the Women’s March of January 2017. Inspired by the values of justice, compassion, and human dignity, Voices from the Border serves migrants and refugees in Nogales, Sonora, Mexico, through housing support, medical care, and direct humanitarian aid.

In addition, we are committed to disseminating accurate information to the larger US community about the lived experience of migration. We therefore support and promote speakers, authors, art, and theater as a means to educate and create a more holistic understanding of life at the US/Mexico border.

Voices From The Border fulfills our mission, first, by financially and materially supporting the work of Nurse/Medical Assistant Francisco (“Pancho”) Olachea Martin, who provides the only free medical care and ambulance transportation that this population receives. Second, we lend support to those asylum seekers and refugees with whom we have worked, who have since crossed into the United States, and who are awaiting their hearings. Third, we sponsor artistic events, on-line discussions*, authors, theater and social media platforms to raise awareness about migrants and migration issues at the southern Arizona border, and the impact of immigration policies on their lived experiences.

Before the pandemic, our volunteers accompanied Pancho on a weekly basis to migrant shelters in Nogales, Sonora, offering such services as food, clothing and toiletry distribution, ESL classes, arts and crafts, and children’s games. During the pre-vaccine phase of the pandemic, all face-to-face direct aid was suspended and Pancho began tele-medical services, which continue today.

Asylum seekers contact him 7 days a week, all day long with concerns like illnesses and injuries, pre-natal needs, housing problems, food shortages, and more. Pancho communicates with a local volunteer who then helps to ensure that the needs are met, whether financially or medically or both. Currently, Pancho and VFTB volunteers visit migrants in Nogales several days per month for distribution of goods and in-person medical consultation.

While asylum seekers and refugees have had to remain in Mexico for extended periods of time as they await their hearings, the VFTB response to their needs has shifted as well. We now rent and furnish three apartments for migrants, helped pay for electricity and roof repairs at a newly established shelter, and support migrant bordadoras—Mexican and Central American embroiderers who sell their craftwork in the US through several organizations: Artisans Beyond Borders, http://www.artisansbeyondborders.org and - Madres e Hijos/Artisans Project http://www.theartisanproject.com.  

Meanwhile, for those asylum seekers who were allowed to enter the US, VFTB has helped find sponsors, legal assistance, and other provisions necessary for survival. Asylum seekers are legally prohibited from working for 365 days after they file for asylum, so the waiting period can be taxing, both financially and emotionally. Much is needed. We have also sponsored a Russian asylum seeker, who (cheers, tears, and shouts of joy!) was recently granted asylum and is moving to Boston.

Our equation is simple: the more we raise, the more we can help. Our current expenses average about $4500/month and this ensures that we can continue to support these families and the growing resident migrant population. Voices is a uniquely grassroots “people’s” organization. We have no paid staff or offices in the US, and don’t apply for and exist on grants. We do provide financial support to our Nurse Pancho in Mexico, because we are people helping people in its most direct form.

**Voices has created an on-line discussion group called Circle of Friends as a way to share with a specific group or organization, our work at the border and is a place to ask questions and receive more information. If you are interested in learning more about these Zoom discussions, please contact us at: voices@voicesfromtheborder.us.

 

Organization Data

Summary

Organization name

Voices from the Border

Tax id (EIN)

37-1909728

Categories

Humanitarian Aid

Address

PO BOX 7
PATAGONIA, AZ 85624

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