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 Author: crawdad
PostPosted: Sat Mar 23, 2013 3:39 pm 
Local Unitarians & Others Donate to Border Partners

Article ONE of Series by Constance Albrecht

Last Sunday, Polly and Peter Edmunds, who operate a non-profit called Border Partners, gave a program at the weekly Sunday service of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Silver City. In response the enthusiastic Unitarians donated about $800 to BP. Afterwards there was lively discussion among members and the Edmunds. This is only one example of how Border Partners (BP), which operates solely on small private grants and donations, continues to receive significant support for its efforts from people in Grant County. Image
Consuela Hester (left) and Sandy Hathaway (right), local Unitarians, chat with Polly Edmunds (center).
Photo by Constance Albrecht

The Edmunds migrated from Minneapolis to Deming, where they expanded their old adobe house with a papercrete addition. In 2008, they started Border Partners, a community development organization operating in Palomas, Mexico, and have been volunteer coordinators ever since then. They found that Palomas residents had lots of energy and ideas, but lacked resources, capital and support. Border Partners tries to respond to expressed needs by creating cooperative efforts and more opportunities, AND using community talents and assets.

Creating jobs in Palomas is the number one priority for their community development efforts. The major success to date is the Palomas Oilcloth Designs project. BP provided mentoring, as well as a loan, for several years to a cooperative of local women. This coop now has seven women members, and it generated $50,000 in income for them last year. (This may not sound like much, but it beats working only seasonally in the fields for less than $10 a day.) The coop now has a new product —a sturdy tote bag with a zipper. Its products can be purchased through http://www.etsy.com/shop/MXwomensHope or at the Raven’s Nest, 106 W. Yankie, Silver City.

New Product--Oilcloth Tote Bag w/ Zipper.
(Photo by Constance Albrecht)

Additionally, BP supports three local promoters, two of which are active in promoting home gardens. And BP sponsors nine Palomas volunteers in the Mexican community health education program. For instance, BP has had nurses from Silver City come to Palomas to teach first aid, since there is no emergency response system there. These local residents also work on supplementing the school meals programs with more protein and fresh produce.

Other Grant County residents, like Bill Charland, continue to help BP’s education and training efforts. Charland has obtained reburbished computers and equipment from UNICOR (the agency that works with prisoners), as well as businesses and individuals in Silver City. These computers are now operating at two elementary schools in Palomas. This has triggered more investment from the school district which hired a part-time computer teacher. The Silver City Rotary Club has worked hard developing a proposal to Rotary International that will provide computers and other equipment for a new Adult Education Center.

The Edmunds emphasized that violence has dramatically fallen in Palomas, and they work closely with the town mayor and his staff. They related an anecdote about how they found out the “big boss,” i.e. the local drug lord, likes what BP is doing and wants them to come to his village!!

To learn more, check out their web site: http://www.borderpartners.org, and a wonderful archive of photos of their various projects: http://www.flickr.com/photos/85984636@N06/collections/

Article Two will examine the alternative technologies employed by Border Partners.

Article Three will list the many ways that people can volunteer and/or give non-monetary support to BP.

 Author: crawdad
PostPosted: Sun Apr 07, 2013 12:11 pm 
Addition to previous post about availability of Palomas Oilcloth products. The SC Food Coop has some small bags on the shelf at front window by cash registers.

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