My friend Sarah Quezada, author of Love Undocumented: Risking Trust in a Fearful World, has written a short, helpful guide containing 15 ideas for supporting immigrants and addressing the migrant crisis. You can download it for free here. But I’d like to highlight what she and her husband, Guillermo (Billy), are doing and invite you to support their efforts.
Billy emigrated to the United States from Guatemala as a young adult. His own challenges within the U.S. immigration system enabled both him and Sarah to understand the many complex circumstances immigrants face. They have spent the last few years talking about how to ease the migrant crisis from Central America in general and Guatemala, his home country, in particular–both Stateside and abroad.
Quality employment in Guatemala is in short supply, which is one of the reasons why so many workers leave the country. But because emigrating to the U.S. comes with complications like family separation, documentation dilemmas, and deportation, the Quezadas wanted to find a way to offer Guatemalan workers the choice to stay in Guatemala. With more than a decade of experience in business operations and team management, Billy believed he could use his skillset to do exactly that.
For the past two years, Billy has been building a business called Bridge, whose first initiative will be to create construction products like building blocks, pavers, and more out of recycled materials like plastic, glass, and volcanic ash. This will serve a twofold purpose: 1) to help clean Guatemala City and 2) to create local jobs. He has communicated at length with people in places where this work is already happening (Uganda, China, Brazil, and Ukraine) and even traveled to Brazil to see the process in person and receive training on the special equipment. He has also partnered with Carlos Castellenos, a Guatemalan-based civil engineer who graduated from the top school of architecture and engineering in Guatemala City and has expertise in home renovations, cell phone tower construction, and more.
The Quezadas got on a plane early this morning and will be in Guatemala until July to get the business up and running. Bridge is a start-up company. You can become an investor with as little as $25. For volunteer options or to bring a group, please reach out to the company directly, and they will work with you as projects become available.
Follow them on Instagram!