The bridge across all of our programs is the desire to change United States policies that impact the people we work with. Extreme poverty and vulnerability in Haiti and Nicaragua lead families to make the heartbreaking decision to migrate, to the United States or elsewhere. Our priority is addressing the root causes of migration in Haiti and Nicaragua. At the same time, we believe that we must insist on fair policies in the United States that promote the dignity of migrants. Current priorities:

  • End Title 42 and Remain in Mexico, and secure asylum once again at our borders

  • Work in solidarity with migrants traveling in Central America and Mexico

  • Bring a social justice framework to the United States’ policies that impact our partners in Haiti and Nicaragua, with an emphasis on non-intervention.
     

Rally Report

Last Friday the Quixote Center joined several other local organizations at a rally in front of the White House. I was honored to be joined by several people from the Quixote Center network. Thank you!

We chose the time and location because of a high level meeting between President Obama and the Presidents of the three Central American countries from which most of the recent wave of migrants originated: Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala. Our message was clear: children fleeing violence in Central America deserve the rights and protections given to refugees.

Delegation: September 21-28

You are invited to join the Quixote Center as we visit our partner organizations in Nicaragua. participants will see first hand our projects of human development, undertaken in partnership with the Institute of John XXIII and the Federation of Campesinos (FEDICAMP).

The Hobby Lobby Verdict

Perhaps I am an incurable optimist, but it never occurred to me that the Supreme Court might side with Hobby Lobby. I didn't believe that their argument stood a chance, but the Court has taken the side of those who would deny a woman her agency and control of her own body. Now we have been given a ruling which will have far-reaching implications and a host of unpredictable consequences.

Homes of Hope Update

Construction is underway once again in the village of Chaguitillo! This is the second year that the Homes of Hope program has been active in this community, and the new construction will serve some of the more than fifty families currently waiting for a new home. The Institute of John XXIII reports that the first seven families have been selected and approved by the community housing association.

On the Announcement of the Santa Maria's Rediscovery

Earlier this week that they had located the wreckage of Christopher Columbus' flagship, the Santa Maria, off the northern coast of Haiti. For more than 500 years the ship has been sitting beneath the Caribbean Sea mostly ignored by researchers. It was only after retracing Columbus' steps from his original encampment in Haiti that anyone realized the identity of the vessel.

Food Aid Reform: Cargo Preference

The United States is one of the world’s largest food aid providers, yet its practices are inefficient, in part because of the transportation restrictions. Currently, 50% of all aid given must be sent on U.S.-flagged ships, a rule known as Cargo Preference. The argument for this rule is to maintain a reserve of vessels for times of war, and to support the maritime industry. At the start of 2014 Congress passed some modest food aid reforms in what is known as the Food for Peace Act. These reforms included ways we could more quickly reach the hungry at a lower cost to U.S.

Earthquake Update

Nicaragua has experienced a string of earthquakes that emanated from the fault lines directly under Managua during the last week, ranging from 5.1 to 6.7 on the Richter scale. There have also been aftershocks. The temblors have caused serious concern among seismologists and other experts, and reminded many in Nicaragua of the devastating 1972 earthquake that left 10,000 dead and over 250,000 homeless.

Jim Burchell, Presente!

It is difficult to write of a friend in the past tense; to say, “He was a good man”, or “He was a funny guy.” “Was” seems to final. But then death is final and I suppose we need to find ways to accept the passing of friends; putting them in the past is one way we do this. But today, at least for today, I want our friend Jim Burchell to be present.

Food Aid Reform: What Happens to America's Farmers?

The strongest opposition to Food Aid Reform, a system which currently buys and ships U.S.-grown grain to countries in need, seems to becoming from our own farmers. Yet even many farmers recognize the need for more flexibility in U.S. food aid policies, as outlined in by Roger Johnson, the president of the National Farmers Union.

Green Schools

So often in development we hear stories of one side throwing money at the other, who can only use it for a project that they never really wanted (or needed). Unlike this one-sided relationship, The Quixote Center’s entire mission is centered on equal relationship with our partners. Over the New Year we learned of a program that has been ongoing in the northwest of Haiti. About 8 years ago, community members founded a network of “Green Schools” – schools dedicated to reforestation. Each school must apply to be in the network, which now boasts over 60 schools.

Homes of Hope: 2013

Nicaragua faces a severe housing shortage, one that has left families without options for safe and dignified housing. Homes of Hope is our initiative with the Institute of John XXIII to address the challenges faced by the country's large working poor population, those with incomes below what is needed to support the family.

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