Anna (center) has been deeply involved with Beyond Borders' work since 1999.
Today's volunteer is Anna Grimaldi Colomer, a US native who has lived and worked in Puerto Rico for the past 40 years as an educator and advisor. She first became familiar with the issue of restavèk while serving as one of the founding volunteers for the Puerto Rico Committee for UNICEF, who had strong connections with Haiti.
In 1999, Anna met David Diggs, Beyond Borders' Director, as both of them worked to campaign with the International Labor Organization for fairer labor standards in marginalized nations. Immediately Anna began collaborating wherever she could with Beyond Borders, particularly through fundraising.
"I am prompted by a deep belief in coalitions and partnerships," she says. "Beyond Borders is all about that. When I first learned of Beyond Borders I was very, very impressed with the leadership and the authentic individuals the organization has in its network."
Anna also established an affinity for Beyond Borders' partner Friends of Matènwa, and saw its affiliated school, the Matènwa Community Learning Center (MCLC), as a model of a strategic solution to the root cause of restavèk slavery.
"The school was two years old when I met Chris [Low, the founder of MCLC]," she says. "I was once again impressed by her leadership and that of the National Coalition for Haitian Rights. I knew that if we were going to work on the abolition of child slavery in Haiti, we were going to need good solutions, and her school was one of those."
Having done this work for many years, Anna often takes a moment to look back and reflect on the progress to date and what still needs to be done to ensure that child slavery will soon become a thing of the past in Haiti.
"We're coming up to the 15 year mark of the campaign we designed, so now one of my desires to have all of the parnters come together a produce a document on successes thus far," Anna says. "I want to then present it to the governement and official bodies to show them how much has been done and what we still need to work on."
Anna is a stranger to days off. Beyond spending time with friends and family, her favorite hobby is designing new campaigns for social justice. She loves working with youth and empowering them to become activists and their own agents of change.
Over the years, even from a distance Anna has brought tremendous gifts to Beyond Borders. Please join us in thanking her during this National Volunteer Week!