Just 1 at a Time
the borderlands fund

The Borderlands Fund

​Just One at a Time has partnered with Little Mercies to provide support to The Global Immersion Project’s Borderlands Fund. Samuel Pérez is the Borderlands Coordinator. He was born and raised in México City. At age 19, he left his hometown to live in a human behavior experimental community in northern Mexico. He then lived “legally” in Tucson, AZ for eight years and two in California’s central coast, where he was exposed to experiences of immigrants and immigration.

Samuel has been a Tijuana-based urban agriculturist since 2010, as well as a deportees and immigrants’ rights activist. He promotes the switch from the old paradigm of helping in a vertical-charitable way, which generates dependence, to a new horizontal-solidarity way, which promotes dignity.

UPDATE: November 2020

Due to COVID, we have temporarily suspended the reforestation and vegetation planting projects described below.

In October 2020, Samuel and Lulu traveled to the Camino de Salvacion shelter, where women from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras have been learning how to ferment vegetables, use aromatic herbs and spices, give cranial sacral massage therapy for stress relief, and experience art as healing.

Samuel writes:

This is an opportunity to thank you for your conscious and intelligent participation in the matters of our borderlands, and thank you for the donation you have made to Borderlands Fund.

Borderlands Fund was created by The Global Immersion Project (TGIP) last year as a response to the Central American crisis (“the caravan,” as we refer to it down here). They offered me the opportunity to coordinate the fund, and I accepted.

One of the reasons I’ve been collaborating with TGIP for last five years⏤one as a collaborator and this last one as a staff member⏤is the respect they have shown to our context⏤both city- and country-wise. They prefer to team up with and learn from the locals since we live this reality every day.

Last year, my proposal for Borderlands Fund was based on three axles:

  • Solidarity instead of charity.
  • Dignification and consolidation of the shelters.
  • Facilitation of spaces for the migrants to reconnect with their own dignity.

The initiatives include: trauma care, creating job sources, promoting productive activities within the shelters, education, developing new skills, providing intelligent help, and implementing practical and long-term solutions for industrial kitchens, solar panels, rainwater harvest, and other elements using eco-techniques.

Lulú called me one day asking to help her develop a greening-the-city project, I love the idea, I have the network, and I know we can make it happen.

As of September 30, 2019, Tijuana has a new mayor, and as of November 1st, Baja California has a new governor. Fortunately, I have good relationships with both and, more importantly with the agencies that will make our project happen.

This is the way we will use your donation in the short term:

  • There will be training workshops for migrants in the different shelters in Tijuana: cranial/facial massage for relaxation; art therapy; making homemade hygiene products; and fermented and preserved veggies.
  • The shelters are in desperate need of vegetation. The project will use native plants and Mediterranean vegetation to teach some of the basics of permaculture.
  • Reforestation campaign toward greening parts of Tijuana, in areas designated by the City.

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