Education Programs

Our Programs

  • De Orilla a Orilla From Shore to Shore, or “De Orilla a Orilla” (in Spanish), is an international teacher-researcher project that has focused on documenting promising classroom practices for intercultural learning over global learning networks.
  • iEARN-Orillas – The International Education and Resource Network (iEARN) uses the internet and other technologies to link classrooms in more than 130 countries around the world. iEARN-Orillas is a special interest group in iEARN to promote multilingual learning and collaborative critical inquiry in USA, Puerto Rico, Mexico and other parts of Latin America. In 2018, the Rights and Opportunities Foundation partnered with iEARN-Orillas to support iEARN-Latina educators to present and share their expertise at iEARN’s 2018 International Conference and Youth Summit. Click HERE to read more.

Leaders in education with whom we have been involved for many years:

  • Rethinking Schools – Rethinking Schools is a nonprofit publisher and advocacy organization dedicated to sustaining and strengthening public education through social justice teaching and education activism. Their magazine, books, and other resources promote equity and racial justice in the classroom. Rethinking Schools encourages grassroots efforts in schools and communities to enhance the learning and well being of our children, and to build broad democratic movements for social and environmental justice. The Rights and Opportunities Foundation is collaborating with Rethinking Schools on the publication and dissemination of teaching resources, including a second edition of Reading, Writing, and Rising Up: Teaching About Social Justice and the Power of the Written Word, climate justice professional development based on A People’s Curriculum for the Earth: Teaching Climate Change and the Environmental Crisis, and translations to Spanish of key articles of interest to bilingual educators.
  • Teaching for Change – Teaching for Change provides teachers and parents with the tools to create schools where students learn to read, write and change the world. By drawing direct connections to real world issues, Teaching for Change encourages teachers and students to question and re-think the world inside and outside their classrooms, build a more equitable, multicultural society, and become active global citizens. The Rights and Opportunities Foundation is partnering with Teaching for Change on a new edition of Putting the Movement Back into the Civil Rights Movement: A Resource Guide for Classrooms and Communities.
  • California Association for Bilingual Education – The California Association for Bilingual Education (CABE) is a non-profit organization to promote bilingual education and quality educational experiences for all students in California. CABE promotes equity and student achievement for students with diverse cultural, racial, and linguistic backgrounds. CABE recognizes and honors the fact that we live in a rich multicultural, global society and that respect for diversity makes us a stronger state and nation.

Other educational programs and organizations we support:

  • In the United States
    • YES! MagazineYes! Magazine publishes a print and online magazine with in-depth analysis, tools for citizen engagement, and stories about real people working for a  healthy planet and vibrant communities. The Rights and Opportunities Foundation collaborates with YES! Magazine on the publication of articles about education and the environment.
    • Ashland Literary Arts Festival – This annual literary event is designed to inspire  reading, writing, and creativity in all people. The focus is on independent story and thought throughout the Pacific Northwest region, celebrating not only books, but all forms of expression: literature, poetry, journalism, art, lyrics, comics, film, and documentary.
  • In Baja California, México

San José del Cabo LigaMAC ESL students
Group photo of San José del Cabo LigaMAC ESL Program students and facilitators, 2016

Women’s and Children’s Rights

Our Programs:

Women Helping Women in a Culture of Violence in Guatemala
As part of the long-term collaboration of the Rights and Opportunities Foundation with Dr. Lynne Jones and Dr. Asmamaw Sisay, they travel to Guatemala to meet an old colleague and help address the issue of domestic violence. Read Dr Jones’ informative and touching blog HERE.

Toward Ending Child Detention in Mexico
Rights and Opportunities Foundation is partnering with Asylum Access to help end the detention of migrant and refugee children in Mexico. Read about this 2018 project HERE.

Migrant Child Storytelling
Dr. Lynne Jones has created a beautiful page with children’s photos and stories documenting their experience as migrants and refugees.  This is important and people need to know about what is happening.  See the photos and read the stories HERE.

To learn more about how we and others are using the Migrant Child Storytelling website in educational settings, click HERE.

Children as victims of the Europe Refugee Crisis
The Rights and Opportunities Foundation is helping to support Dr. Lynne Jones, child psychiatrist, experienced humanitarian, scholar and author to bring to public attention the plight of children living in refugee camps in EuropeRead about her work and reports from the camps HERE.

Addressing Violence Against Children in Central America
The Foundation supports humanitarian work focused on the rights of children. There is now a crisis of refugees fleeing the violence in Central America.

Since 2014 we in the US do not hear so much of the child migrant crisis.  The US instigated Southern Border Plan has pressured Mexico to stop the flow of migrants and refugees to the US border and while the numbers of migrants deported rose sharply under the Obama administration there are fewer now getting to the border.

This does not mean the problem has been solved, or even addressed.   The violence and deaths in the Northern Triangle of Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador have increased and are now greater than in any countries not at war and poverty and inequality remain prevalent.  The Central American governments are doubly failing to protect their citizens: socioeconomic conditions remain poor and an increasingly violent environment permeates every corner of their countries, which causes people to flee in record numbers. Please see the references below, including the recent report from Amnesty International for more detailed information about the causes and effects of migration and especially the consequences of governments failing to provide protection to those who are deported back to the same dangerous climates from which they ran.  It is becomingly increasingly common for child migrants, deported from the US and Mexico, to be murdered on their return to Honduras and El Salvador.

The human rights violations include failure to recognize that many of these “migrants” are truly refugees, fleeing for their lives, and they have the right to protection.  Additionally, Mexico and the US really are overwhelmed by the numbers coming and have inadequate shelter and infrastructure to house, protect and process applications for amnesty.  It is a violation of human rights and international law to send refugees back to the countries they fled if their lives are at risk there and this is occurring frequently.

There is, additionally, a custom of beating children and physical chastisement in countries of the Northern Triangle.  Children are routinely beaten by gangs, in the schools and at home and this contributes to the numbers of unaccompanied minors fleeing to the north.

The Rights and Opportunities Foundation recognizes that it is this violence that leads to many social problems in Latin America and with consequences in Mexico the United States as well as to the many who have been victims.

The solution to the children immigration crisis in Latin America and the United States is not to build walls or deport families and children back to countries where their lives are at risk, but to change the patterns of violence that makes children feel unsafe in their homes. Clearly, authorities must bring gangs under control, economic development must provide alternate opportunities for those now involved in gangs.  And, more acutely, those fleeing violence must be protected and given a chance to live and to succeed.  For this to happen the world must be informed of the scale of the problem and implement political action.

The Foundation will continue its work to support the needs of refugees and migrants around the world and bring to the public eye conditions that must change.

Additionally, models have been created for community interventions to change this pattern of violence in Northern Triangle nations and the Foundation will bring these interventions into the communities where conditions of poverty, social inequality and isolation contribute to violence to children.

 

Continue reading “Women’s and Children’s Rights”

Protecting Sensitive Environments

Our Programs:

Community Art to Support Carr Lake Park is a 2019 Partnership between Big Sur Land Trust, the Rights and Opportunities Foundation, and artists Juan Carlos Gonzalez (Urban Arts Collaborative), Jose Ortiz (Hijos del Sol), and Enid Ryce (CSU-Monterey Bay), along with local assistants and youth interns, to create an art installation in support of the development of a community park at Carr Lake in Salinas, California. The purpose of this Partnership is to leverage art and the creative process behind artmaking to dialogue with the local community about the ecologies, histories, cultures, and inequities related to Carr Lake- and to expose the social justice opportunities inherent in the Carr Lake Project.  Read more here.

East Cape Strategic Action  is a program of the International Community Foundation with support from the Rights and Opportunities Foundation. This program serves to protect the environment of Baja California Sur in Mexico while strengthening civil society and promoting sustainable communities. Read more here.

Communities in Sensitive Environments looks at how environmental degradation affects some areas, and some people, more than others. What can we do? Click here to learn more about what Rights and Opportunities Foundation is doing in the U.S. and Mexico.

A People’s Curriculum for the Earth, published by Rethinking Schools, with support from the Rights and Opportunities Foundation, is a collection of articles, role plays, simulations, stories, poems, and graphics to help breathe life into teaching about the environmental crisis. Readings on climate change, energy, water, food, and pollution—as well as on people who are working to make things better—help students see what’s wrong and imagine solutions.

Escenarios saludables [Scenarios for Healthy Environments] is an iEARN global learning network project. Spanish-speaking students analyze, compare and seek solutions to situations that threaten the health of their communities in search of a better quality of life. This project is based on goal 3 of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG): Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages. Participating classes in Argentina, Brazil, the Dominican Republic, the U.S., Paraguay, Puerto Rico, and Catalunya exchange ideas about how to take action to improve the environment in their communities.

Hegg_Benson_photo_2Barr Creek Property and Hegg Benson Trail, and other projects of the Skagit Land Trust, contribute to the conservation of critical wildlife habitat and open space in Western Washington for the benefit of the community and as a legacy for future generations.

Leaders in Environmental Protection whom we have supported for many years:

Humanitarian Assistance

Our Programs:

Rebuilding Refugee Lives in Mexico:
Refugee Protection through a Mandatory Asylum Protocol
A Collaboration between The Rights and Opportunities Foundation and Asylum Access
November 2019.  Read more here.

Protecting the Rights of Refugees in Mexico
Rights and Opportunities Foundation is partnering with Asylum Access to help protect the rights of migrants and refugees in Mexico. Read about this 2018 project HERE.

Hurricane Maria caused catastrophic damage and a major humanitarian crisis in Puerto Rico, as well as being the tenth-most intense Atlantic hurricane on record. Puerto Rico suffered catastrophic damage, including destruction of its previously damaged electrical grid. Many people are living without electricity and clean water. With such widespread destruction the island and its people have a great need for supplies – everything from drinking water, food, medicine and personal care items to fuel for generators and construction materials for rebuilding the island.

In collaboration with professors at the University of Puerto Rico, the Rights and Opportunities Foundation has sought to identify community-based organizations that have a history in their areas and that have the capacity to use the donations people provide. Some of these organizations build capacity and provide training or are involved in community organization/development; some are supplying material goods to the regions of greatest need on the island.

Click HERE to see a list of recommended community-based organizations and hurricane relief efforts.

Advocating for a Humanitarian Response in the Europe Refugee Crisis

Migrant Child Storytelling.  Dr Lynne Jones has created a beautiful page with children’s photos and stories documenting their experience as migrants and refugees.  This is important and people need to know about what is happening.  See the photos and read the stories HERE.
The biggest refugee crisis since the second world war is now taking place in Europe… and we hardly hear of it in the media. Refugees from the war in Syria, from eastern Africa, Turkey. All are struggling to reach Europe. European countries are reluctant to accept so many refugees for economic and social reasons as well as a general fear of foreigners and Islam. Racism is never far from these sorts of fears. Thousands have died in boats trying to cross into Greece or Italy. Now many are massed in camps in Greece, where they arrived on the island of Lesvos, and on the border with Macedonia.  The Rights and Opportunities Foundation supports the JAFRA team of refugees helping other refugees in the camps of Greece.  Specific projects in the camp include assistance in the production of a refugee newsletter and a children’s photography workshop that allows child refugees to document their lives and express their feelings about their families and the community they are in.

Another camp, called the Jungle, formed in Calais across the channel from England, but has now been disbanded.
It is wrong to have so many people living in overcrowded camps without access to basic necessities, without legal status, without knowing if they will be able to enter Europe or be sent back to an unsafe place, or forcibly moved. The solutions to these problems will require political action. A world that stands by and watches wars develop, tyrants control countries and people suffering under oppression must deal with the humanitarian consequences. Also, countries that close their borders to people fleeing for safety must find ways to protect the vulnerable and relieve suffering.
This is an uncomfortable truth not being widely reported in the media. In an effort to bring public awareness to this situation Dr Lynne Jones, child psychiatrist, experienced humanitarian, scholar and author has spent time in the camps and worked with refugee children in the Calais Jungle and Greece. Read about her findings HERE. The Rights and Opportunities Foundation is helping to support Dr Jones work with the refugee crisis so that people can know of children’s experiences as refugees.
Public outcry can force governments to respond and lead to political changes to alleviate this humanitarian catastrophe.

Addressing Violence Against Children in Central America

Since 2014 we in the US do not hear so much of the child migrant crisis.  The US instigated Southern Border Plan has pressured Mexico to stop the flow of migrants and refugees to the US border and while the numbers of migrants deported rose sharply under the Obama administration there are fewer now getting to the border.

This does not mean the problem has been solved, or even addressed.   The violence and deaths in the Northern Triangle of Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador have increased and are now greater than in any countries not at war and poverty and inequality remain prevalent.  The Central American governments are doubly failing to protect their citizens: socioeconomic conditions remain poor and an increasingly violent environment permeates every corner of their countries, which causes people to flee in record numbers. Please see the references below, including the recent report from Amnesty International for more detailed information about the causes and effects of migration and especially the consequences of governments failing to provide protection to those who are deported back to the same dangerous climates from which they ran.  It is becomingly increasingly common for child migrants, deported from the US and Mexico, to be murdered on their return to Honduras and El Salvador.

The human rights violations include failure to recognize that many of these “migrants” are truly refugees, fleeing for their lives, and they have the right to protection.  Additionally, Mexico and the US really are overwhelmed by the numbers coming and have inadequate shelter and infrastructure to house, protect and process applications for amnesty.  It is a violation of human rights and international law to send refugees back to the countries they fled if their lives are at risk there and this is occurring frequently.

There is, additionally, a custom of beating children and physical chastisement in countries of the Northern Triangle.  Children are routinely beaten by gangs, in the schools and at home and this contributes to the numbers of unaccompanied minors fleeing to the north.

The Rights and Opportunities Foundation recognizes that it is this violence that leads to many social problems in Latin America and with consequences in Mexico the United States as well as to the many who have been victims.

The solution to the children immigration crisis in Latin America and the United States is not to build walls or deport families and children back to countries where their lives are at risk, but to change the patterns of violence that makes children feel unsafe in their homes. Clearly, authorities must bring gangs under control, economic development must provide alternate opportunities for those now involved in gangs.  And, more acutely, those fleeing violence must be protected and given a chance to live and to succeed.  For this to happen the world must be informed of the scale of the problem and implement political action.

The Foundation will continue its work to support the needs of refugees and migrants around the world and bring to the public eye conditions that must change.

Additionally, models have been created for community interventions to change this pattern of violence in Northern Triangle nations and the Foundation will bring these interventions into the communities where conditions of poverty, social inequality and isolation contribute to violence to children.

 

Continue reading “Humanitarian Assistance”

Rebuilding Refugee Lives in Mexico: Refugee Protection through a Mandatory Asylum Protocol: A Collaboration between The Rights and Opportunities Foundation and Asylum Access November 2019

The Problem:
Thousands of refugees are fleeing organized crime and gang violence in Central America. In fact, the numbers seeking protection are staggering: in 2013, Mexico received just over 3,000 applications for asylum; this year, Mexico is expecting to receive over 80,000.1 We understand why so many are turning to the Mexican asylum system for help. For those that successfully receive refugee status in Mexico, the opportunity to rebuild is real: refugees with status can live safely, move freely and work legally.  While we are pleased that over 80,000 will be able to request asylum in Mexico, this only tells a part of the story. Many refugee families are never able to present an asylum application before being detained and deported.

Between 2015 and 2018, over 500,000 people were deported back to life-threatening situations in Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala; 117,000 of them were children. Based
on our own clientele, Asylum Access estimates that nearly 80% of those deported had a viable claim to asylum. This situation is complicated by the over 81,000 people who are waiting in Mexico for access to the US systems – while they wait, these individuals do not have access to protection, and are also subject to detention and deportation. Indeed, refugees on Mexico’s southern border with Guatemala all the way to the northern border with the United States are struggling to access the system that carries the promise of a long-term solution.

The Mexican institutions responsible for this are acting in violation of Mexico’s laws and institutional mandates. Their actions need to be exposed, and solutions need to be found, so that refugee families can begin a process of rebuilding their lives meaningfully within Mexico.

The Solution:
Together with our civil society partners and the Rights and Opportunities Foundation, Asylum Access aims to increase access to asylum and reduce the use of detention and deportation by facilitating the building and rollout of a Mandatory Asylum Protocol in Mexico. A Mandatory Asylum Protocol will clarify the steps all frontline government workers must take to identify and protect asylum seekers, and require they undergo adequate training. In order to ensure the Protocol is effective, Asylum Access and partners will not only support the development of the Protocol, but also its rollout: by soliciting critical buy-in from key government officials and personally delivering high-quality government trainings, we
will increase the likelihood the Protocol is practically enabling refugee families to access safety and begin to rebuild their lives.

Through our partnerships with Mexican civil society and The Rights and Opportunities Foundation
Asylum Access will:
• Support the development of a Mandatory Asylum Protocol, which will include clear steps for
frontline officials for identifying those in need of international protection, expedited guidelines
for children, special provisions for those waiting in Mexico for access to US systems and more;
• Build relationships with government officials who can implement the Mandatory Asylum
Protocol, including SRE (Secretaría de Relaciones Exteriores) and it’s INM (Instituto de Nacional
de Migración), and COMAR (Comisión Mexicana de Ayuda a Refugiados); and
• Deliver trainings to COMAR on Child Protection. Then, together with COMAR, deliver Child
Protection training to INM. Through these trainings, we can start to promote the Mandatory
Asylum Protocol, including specific and expedited protection for children who are in detention
and/or facing deportation.

We are optimistic we can make progress toward a Mandatory Asylum Protocol within the next year. The Mexican government has committed to implementing such guidelines both through the Universal Periodic Review and Brazil Plan of Action processes. Furthermore, we have early indication from SRE and COMAR that they are interested in collaborating with Asylum Access and our civil society networks (Grupo Articulador México – Plan de Acción de Brasil, and Grupo de Trabajo Sobre Política Migratoria) in the development and implementation of a Mandatory Asylum Protocol.

 

Expanding Community Dialogue about the Carr Lake Project through Art

is a Partnership between Big Sur Land Trust, the Rights and Opportunities Foundation, and artists Juan Carlos Gonzalez (Urban Arts Collaborative), Jose Ortiz (Hijos del Sol), and Enid Ryce (CSU-Monterey Bay), along with local assistants and youth interns, to create an art installation in support of the development of a community park at Carr Lake. The purpose of this Partnership is to leverage art and the creative process behind artmaking to dialogue with the local community about the ecologies, histories, cultures, and inequities related to Carr Lake- and to expose the social justice opportunities inherent in the Carr Lake Project.
The guiding document for this Partnership is “Convergence : A Story of People, Place and Opportunity at Carr Lake” by Peter Forbes (August, 2018). Big Sur Land Trust proposes that the Rights and Opportunities Foundation participate through dialogue, sharing expertise, and financial support.
The envisioned Project is an installation in the centrally-located Salinas Center for Art and Culture, consisting of a collaboratively-created centerpiece mural, community contributions (art, photos, similar), bilingual science interpretation elements, and resident engagement activities that echo Carr Lake and the themes described above. These Project components are intended to enhance each other synergistically and provoke a heart response among residents to the Carr Lake Project, sparking reactions and conversations that ultimately drive project outcomes through the incorporation of the audience’s voices into the Park design process. The nature of an exhibition setting for the work produced during this Project gives the Project partners the chance to engage with a greater spectrum of residents about how the Carr Lake Project can be further refined to achieve community goals in addition to conservation outcomes. In this way, the community’s vision for the 73-acre site Carr Lake is honored and manifested in the design plans for a culturally­ relevant park space that magnifies local people’ s hopes, stories, and identities. This Project also generates community support of the project necessary for Big Sur Land Trust to complete environmental permitting prior to park construction, which is key to implementing the Carr Lake Project overall.
Framing questions for this Project include: What would it mean for the communities around Carr Lake to be less siloed and more unified? What does the convergence of cultures look like at Carr Lake? How do the various historical timelines of Carr Lake play into the landscape and residents’ way of life? If people and nature were in harmony at Carr Lake, how would this change the community? The creative inquiry and artmaking processes will be documented, as well as the final resulting mural. Progress updates will be submitted throughout the process.