The Unitarian Universalist Service Committee advances human rights through grassroots collaborations.
Solidarity in the Times of COVID: Scalabrinianas Misión con Migrantes y Refugiados (Part 3)
By Lindsey Hoemann on March 9, 2021
What are the challenges you see ahead for this year that is just starting? What are your hopes?
The greatest challenge that we face for the coming year is creating an operating plan in this complex and unstable context.
Our greatest hope is that, with the support of volunteers, organizations and institutions, we will be able to respond to the immediate needs of the migrant and refugee people that we receive.
Do you have any reflections on this “year of crisis” and what it has meant for you as SMR and for people in migration?
We have learned many lessons and gained a lot of experience in the past year. We have seen the solidarity and generosity of many people and we never felt alone. I don’t believe that 2020 was “a year of crisis,” it is more accurate to say that this is a period of crisis, and we do not know how long it will last.
Have the residents of the house offered or shared other reflections from their perspective or from their families?
Many migrants, similar to those of us on staff with SMR, define this as a time to learn and as an opportunity to show more solidarity, to be kinder and more human; it has helped them to reflect upon and appreciate everything they do have and all that they receive while so many people are left behind and living in poverty. However, there are those who experience this situation from a more pessimistic perspective and see it as “a lost year” or “a year in which I did nothing.”
Any other comments that you would like to add?
To confront COVID-19 we need to have a lot of faith, hope, serenity, patience, generosity, solidarity, kindness, cooperation, and collaboration with other organizations. Alone we can do nothing.
What has UUSC’s support meant for you during these times?
UUSC’s support has been fundamental to providing support to refugees and people in migration – both those who are staying at Casa Mambré as well as those that live outside the shelter and who are in the process of joining the local workforce.
Many of the refugees who do not live at the shelter lost their source of income due to COVID-19. For all of them, their number one concern was how to pay their rent, followed by how to buy food, medicine and hygiene products. The funding provided by UUSC made it possible to support both individuals and families with these basic necessities. Likewise, for those who are living at Casa Mambré, in addition to food, medicines, and hygiene and cleaning products, we were able to provide them with clothing and shoes.
Without the funds provided by UUSC, we would not have been able to support many of those who live outside the shelter and who are in the process of joining the local workforce. This is because our budgets are only able to cover support for those currently living at Casa Mambré, but not former residents.
About UUSC: Guided by the belief that all people have inherent worth and dignity, UUSC advances human rights globally by partnering with affected communities who are confronting injustice, mobilizing to challenge oppressive systems, and inspiring and sustaining spiritually grounded activism for justice. We invite you to join us in this journey toward realizing a better future!
Image Credit: Scalabrinianas Misión con Migrantes y Refugiados