WASHINGTON – Human Rights First and the Western Union Foundation are partnering to create an innovative social programming project, Vida sin Fronteras (“Life without Borders”), for asylum-seeking children and transitional-age youths aged 18-24 years (“TAYs”). Asylum-seeking youths experience significant educational and psychosocial barriers, as well as hunger, insufficient financial resources, and stigmatization from American society. With generous support from the Western Union Foundation, Vida sin Fronteras will provide yearlong educational, psychosocial, and basic-needs support to children, TAYs, and their families in Los Angeles and Orange Counties, California.
In addressing the many barriers asylum seekers face, “Vida sin Fronteras will provide asylum-seeking youth and their families with solutions that invest in their potential to heal, learn, and thrive,” said Diana Diaz, Human Rights First’s project lead and a social worker on the organization’s Refugee Representation team. “We are thrilled to be a catalyst for long-term support for our clients throughout the life of their legal case, which often can take years and involves dramatic life changes.”
The program provides school tutoring, English as a Second Language and digital literacy courses for parents, and classes on financial literacy, workforce readiness, and coding. All participants will also have access to support groups, culturally responsive wellness workshops, and psychological first aid training. Finally, Vida sin Fronteras will provide computers and internet access to participants, and kits with a new mattress, blanket, and pillows, to ensure program participants have what they need to thrive.
Participants in Vida sin Fronteras are Human Rights First clients, including:
- Teenagers from Guatemala who were targeted with gang violence and prevented from going to school, church, or to visit family members for fear of death;
- Honduran women who survived domestic violence in their home countries;
- Members of the LGBTQ community in Cameroon harmed by family, classmates, gangs, and police because of their sexual orientation or gender identity;
- Young women who challenged guardianship laws and strict gender norms imposed by the Saudi Arabian government; and
- Student activists who fought oppressive regimes in Nicaragua.
Human Rights First is proud to work alongside several community organizations and individuals in this exciting new project, including:
- Loyalty Foundation: A nonprofit that provides funding and programming for STEM and technology-based educational opportunities to underserved K-12 youth populations.
- One Digital World: A nonprofit that empowers refugees and asylum seekers by using technology to connect them with education and equipment essential to integration and self-reliance in a new country and culture.
- Youthful Savings / The Learning Marketplace: The Learning Marketplace provides innovative learning products and experiences from educators all over the world, with the goal of building better human capital by reaching the brains and hearts of the youth.
- human-I-T: A nonprofit that provides low-income individuals and nonprofits with technology, internet, and digital training. By reusing instead of recycling electronics, human-I-T transforms e-waste into opportunities for underserved communities, while promoting digital inclusion and online access.
- Give Kids Art: A nonprofit that provides visual arts programming to underserved youth and raises awareness to the significant value of creative self-expression and its positive impact on social, emotional, and cognitive wellness.