Ana Yris Guzmán is the co-founder of Nuestra Escuela, a flourishing alternative high school in Caguas, Puerto Rico.
Ever since Hurricane Maria hit, Ana is also a disaster relief coordinator.
The hurricane uprooted many of her students and staff. “They lost many things, including family, houses, the basic necessities,” Ana told me earlier this year.
So, Ana is doing what needs to be done for hurricane survivors in addition to her everyday duties. Nuestra Escuela’s hurricane relief projects include a free food program, post-traumatic stress relief curriculum, and a creative cleanup project. The cleanup project is led by a team of Nuestra Escuela students who are transforming hurricane-uprooted trees into school furniture.
“With the support of many people, we can recover,” Ana said.
Unsung heroes like Ana power long-term disaster recovery around the world, but they’re names don’t often make it into the headlines.
As the Chief Program Officer at GlobalGiving, I’ve had the privilege of working with them, day in and day out, for more than a decade. I’ve seen local leaders like Ana step up in disaster-affected areas around the world. On top of their varied primary missions—running schools, helping women flee domestic violence, feeding the chronically homeless—their organizations become epicenters for disaster relief. The Disaster Recovery Network at GlobalGiving exists to bring much-needed resources to their often overlooked and underfunded projects.
I am excited to announce a new initiative, the GlobalGiving Disaster Feedback Fellowship Program, to meet this goal. Through the fellowship, 10 distinguished, community-led nonprofit leaders will spend one week in Washington, D.C., learning from each other, promoting their disaster recovery projects to peers and funders, and speaking at and attending the 2018 Feedback Summit on October 4-5, 2018. Each fellow will receive a $10,000 GlobalGiving grant to cover travel, accommodations, and their time, as well as select disaster recovery project needs, as identified by the fellow.
The Disaster Feedback Fellowship Program is designed to foster effective, long-term disaster recovery strategies and strengthen the capacity of organizations to respond to future disasters, which will ultimately make the communities where our fellows operate more resilient.
Disaster Feedback Fellows will have the opportunity to share with and learn from each other and other summit attendants. They’ll share how they collect and incorporate feedback from the people they intend to help, and learn new ways to integrate feedback into their everyday work. There is no more crucial time to foster this exchange than now, as disasters are increasing in frequency and severity around the world.
Please join me in congratulating the 2018 Disaster Feedback Fellows:
- Ana Yris Guzmán, Nuestra Escuela, Inc., Puerto Rico + Caribbean Hurricane Relief Fund
- Cora Sayre, Water, Agroforestry, Nutrition and Development Foundation, Philippines Typhoon Relief Fund
- Erika Tamayo, Fondo Semillas, Mexico Earthquake Relief Fund
- Imani Daniel, St. Thomas Recovery Team, Hurricane Irma Relief Fund
- Isadora Hastings, Cooperación Comunitaria, Mexico Earthquake Relief Fund
- Korvi Rakshand, JAAGO Foundation, Rohingya Refugee Relief Fund
- Rudra Bahadur Neupane, Practical Help Achieving Self Empowerment (PHASE), Nepal Earthquake Relief Fund
- Shondra Muhammad, S.H.A.P.E. Community Center, Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund
- Tiffany Stafford, Target Hunger, Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund
- Yotam Polizer, IsraAID, Syrian Refugee Relief Fund