Examples of REACH projects include:
When she began to work on combating domestic violence and sexual abuse in the Latino community in Amherst, Massachusetts, USA, the Founder/Director of REACH came to the realization that although there were a number of disparate organizations in Western Massachusetts serving Latinos, there was no institution to coordinate their actions. This resulted in duplication of activities, a lack of awareness of local services available to Latinos, and the lost opportunity to build a regional advocacy movement.
Therefore, the Director of REACH, along with another local advocate formed a Latino Coalition comprised of Latino professionals working on domestic violence, sexual assault, immigration reform, education, and legal and health services, among other issues. The Coalition filled the need for improved connection and coordination among the various organizations and individuals serving Latinos in order to facilitate information-sharing, referrals, capacity building among professional service providers, cross-fertilization, and the development of an advocacy campaign on domestic and sexual violence and immigrant rights. Over 40 professionals from over 20 organizations and government agencies providing counseling, advocacy, educational services, referrals, legal assistance, and health services joined the coalition.
The coalition has held regular meetings in which members exchange information about issues facing the Latino community, as well as the services that they provide, in order to facilitate referrals and cooperation. This promotes cross-fertilization and results in awareness-raising and capacity building among members on a wide variety of issues. The members also coordinate on public advocacy campaigns around domestic violence, sexual assault, and immigrant rights. Through this Coalition, professional service providers have been able to better serve the Latino community by sharing their expertise and joining forces in promoting a common agenda.
Art and dance therapy classes for victims of domestic and sexual violence in Massachusetts, USA.
Art Exhibitions in USA: “Broken Hearts” and “Liberated Hearts,” created by female victims of domestic violence and rape.
Art Exhibition in Guatemala: “Don’t Hurt Me Anymore”/ “Ya no me lastimes,” created by child victims of domestic violence.
Photography Exhibition in Guatemala: “Silent Voices of Latin America” /“Voces Silenciosas de Latinoamérica”
Photojournalism Project: “Narratives of Exploited Women Workers”/ “Narrativas de Mujeres Trabajadoras Explotadas”
Support Groups and Counseling Services for Survivors of Violence
REACH has the capacity to design and implement a wide range of development programs that will achieve meaningful, measurable, and sustainable change. Programs include violence prevention, community consultations, and empowerment, among many others.
Once we are aware of the scope and scale of abuses, we have the obligation to take action. These actions may range from the development of policy recommendations to political advocacy, to the formation and empowerment of coalitions of representing the interests of minority groups, to projects that directly benefit disadvantaged populations. In all cases, projects must be designed by taking into account the perspectives of those affected and the social and cultural contexts of their communities to ensure that actions achieve desirable, sustainable results.
Too many times, changes have been imposed by those with power, either for their own benefit, or in the belief that these changes are in the best interest of others. However, it is essential that communities be consulted, because community members understand the problems that they are facing, their root causes, and what needs to be done to combat these problems.
They hold the key to improving their situations and to preserving their cultures and communities. REACH’s members come from a range of cultures, countries, and backgrounds and each member brings his or her own experience, education, and perspectives to ensure that real, lasting, positive changes are achieved.