We are an independent group of individuals with diverse backgrounds who were compelled to action by the 7.1-magnitude earthquake that devastated parts of Mexico on September 19, 2017. In separate weeklong cohorts, ten of us traveled to the Mixteca Poblana region of Mexico to provide aid in two communities, San Jose El Platanar and Tehuitzingo, from which many of our NYC neighbors hail. Once there, we quickly realized how dire the situation was: hundreds of houses were completely destroyed, families are facing lifelong trauma, and many were and are still living in donated tents or makeshift structures in their yards. We began the work of clearing and rebuilding, establishing relationships and securing resources, and developing a path forward.
Our time in these incredible, resilient communities gave birth to Direct Impact Coalition.
Our goal is simple: to build two "prototype" structures in San Jose El Platanar and Tehuitzingo. In San Jose El Platanar, we will support the construction of a shared-used community center that will be a resource to the 250 residents of this rural community. In Tehuitzingo, we will build a prototype home that can be replicated by other families in this town of 5,000, where nearly 300 homes were destroyed.
These prototypes will be built to survive future earthquakes while utilizing green technology to conserve water and use sustainable and efficient energy sources. To build these structures, we will invest in local talent and build local capacity: local architects and engineers will design the prototypes, and local labor will build them.
The cost for each of these prototype structures will be $15,000, and we aim to raise $40,000 to support the first phase of our work. The additional $10,000 included in this initial goal will be used to document our model to support future efforts, provide psychosocial support to address the lasting effects of the trauma left by the earthquake, and to ensure that our work continues.
In conversations with local leadership, we realized that we cannot just rebuild; rather, we must shift from reactive crisis response to ensuring long-term sustainability and resiliency. With the quality demonstrated in our two prototypes, the next iteration of our work will focus on advocacy with government agencies and NGOs to use our model for reconstruction.
Direct Impact Coalition's mission is to provide sustained, direct support to migrant-origin communities in Mexico, and create bridges between New York's immigrant diaspora and the homeland.
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