Solar street light installation by La Marana
Our partners are working in communities that know challenges. They have adjusted to life after hurricanes and other natural disasters and now they must adapt again to social distance for the safety of all.
Our nonprofit partners continue to work remotely on projects where they can, and they are recognizing new needs in light of COVID-19. Sofía Unanue, Executive Director of La Maraña in Puerto Rico, says that while her team is “doing our best to stay safe through a pandemic, we continue to uncover the deep-rooted interdisciplinary vulnerabilities we face as a society.”
All along, these organizations have been focused on building resiliency in their communities, which is needed now perhaps more than ever. They have made major strides to improve livelihoods, housing, and food security for impacted communities:
- With support from the Community Foundation of the Virgin Islands (CFVI), the Friends of Virgin Islands National Park planted 100 tree seedlings on St. John. A fruit tree project on St. Thomas concluded with more than 500 native trees distributed throughout the island. Meanwhile, another 6,000 trees are being grown in a new nursery on St. Croix.
- Another group removed 85 cubic yards of marine and shoreline hurricane debris on St. John with funding from CFVI.
- An urban garden workforce program launched earlier this year on St. Croix for 20 garden members with CFVI’s help.
- St. John’s Long Term Recovery Group has completed rebuilds and repairs for 31 homes to date.
New recovery and resiliency work is being planned for postponed timelines. SEED SPOT is planning to host 10 workshops with CFVI for entrepreneurs on St. Thomas when it is safe to do so. Inevitably, home reconstruction has been paused in many places, especially as volunteer groups have been unable to travel. La Maraña will finish construction on an abandoned school in northeast Puerto Rico when social distancing is no longer required.
Sofía shares what gives her team at La Maraña inspiration right now. “We are staying motivated during this time by thinking about [our] future and the transition we hope to carry out.”
Seed collecting oroject, funded by CFV