From Mother to Mother

From Mother to Mother

From Nichelle Calhoun

Raising money for 110 single mothers/women who make up two collectives in Buenaventura, Colombia, South America. Donations will go to buying food, medicine and essentials impacting more than 750 people during COVID-19.

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Recent Updates

Update #19

about 1 month ago

Hello Everyone,

I wanted to send an update and an opportunity to connect. Yesterday was food distribution day! We thought we had enough money for 80 families to receive a "mercado" of food, but in the end we were able to do 100 "mercados" of food. I am so very thankful to you for making this possible. The videos from families were full of gratitude, and I am likewise so full of gratitude. There are many restrictions on movement during COVID-19, but Monica and Jhon were able to safely distribute food with their team. In my last whatsapp message, Monica relayed that several of the women were very sick with COVID-19, but food was delivered. You have to know how much you have made a difference in this crisis. I am strategizing next steps because we know that vulnerable communities are facing some of their gravest challenges yet: food security remains an issue, among many other things. I am in talks with Monica Leonor and Jhon Montano and we believe next steps would be to share directly with you. I am proposing a ZOOM meeting to donors to learn about the Pacific Coast of Colombia directly from Black Colombian Activists and Organizers, leaders who are on the frontlines of making a difference (with interpreters of course). We would also like to share images from the distributions. Should you be interested, inbox me at nichellemarie@gmail.com.

100 Family Thank Yous x Nichelle, Jorge and Maria

More Info

Our Story: Mother to Mother Campaign from Inclusion for Humanity 

3 months ago, I traveled from the Washington, DC area to Cali, Colombia alongside Jorge Yepes of Inclusion for Humanity to interview Monica Mosquera about an all women's fish-farming initiative.  Monica is the head of two all-women collectives that represent the interests of over 150 Afro-Colombian single mothers in the city of Buenaventura.   These 150 women are determined heads of household who support families that average 5-6 people. They catch and clean fish and market them to nearby restaurants and sell them to be shipped for international markets.  Others cook and sell the famous cuisine of Colombia's Pacific Coast to any tourists who come to the city's beaches.  Despite limited resources, the women of Buenaventura use their creativity and broad range of skills to make products such as the wine, Vino De Naidy, Don Bla, a sweet wine made from the acai fruit featured in the photo with the donation perk, the anthology, Songs of Yemaya.  

Shut out of the larger economy and with little access to capital,  these women make meager earnings due to the impact of global warming on fish supply and ongoing violence from drug trafficking.  As a result, poverty is a mainstay in the daily lives despite the creativity and ingenuity.   

And then COVID-19 hit, making an already dire situation almost impossible. Beaches are now closed and so are the opportunities for women to support their families. 

Local grass roots leaders Monica Mosquera and John Montano have many depending on them to help get resources.  Your donations will go directly to both collectives, The Association of Women Entrepreneurs of Bazan-Bocana and the Environmental Corporation for Territorial  Development . It will help the 150 women provide food and essentials for their families in this time of crisis, impacting roughly 750 people. 

Your Contribution:

  • By contributing, you help essential needs be met. 
  • By sharing, you help illuminate a group that is often invisible in Colombian society.

All DONATIONS ARE WELCOME, but for all donations of the $30 dollar and above giving level, you will receive a signed copy or copies of the anthology, Songs of Yemaya, a collection of Black women's stories from around the world,  a perfect Mother's Day gift that supports mothers in the Pacific region of Colombia. 

To receive copies of anthology, please provide email address when donating. 

***Special Note: The giving levels have been set according to package levels offered by many of the supermarkets  in Colombia for people to buy food during the crisis.

A Little Peek into Buenaventura

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Nichelle Calhoun posted a new update:
about 1 month ago

Update #22

Hello Everyone,

I wanted to send an update and an opportunity to connect. Yesterday was food distribution day! We thought we had enough money for 80 families to receive a "mercado" of food, but in the end we were able to do 100 "mercados" of food. I am so very thankful to you for making this possible. The videos from families were full of gratitude, and I am likewise so full of gratitude. There are many restrictions on movement during COVID-19, but Monica and Jhon were able to safely distribute food with their team. In my last whatsapp message, Monica relayed that several of the women were very sick with COVID-19, but food was delivered. You have to know how much you have made a difference in this crisis. I am strategizing next steps because we know that vulnerable communities are facing some of their gravest challenges yet: food security remains an issue, among many other things. I am in talks with Monica Leonor and Jhon Montano and we believe next steps would be to share directly with you. I am proposing a ZOOM meeting to donors to learn about the Pacific Coast of Colombia directly from Black Colombian Activists and Organizers, leaders who are on the frontlines of making a difference (with interpreters of course). We would also like to share images from the distributions. Should you be interested, inbox me at nichellemarie@gmail.com.

100 Family Thank Yous x Nichelle, Jorge and Maria

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Nichelle Calhoun posted a new update:
about 1 month ago

Update #21

There are 6 hours left in this campaign and we have raised nearly $4,000. I will give one final update tomorrow as I prepare to send the last cash allotment to Colombia: another food distribution is on the way to these wonderful families. I will be sharing photos from that last food distribution via Facebook @ Nichelle Calhoun. We did this together! We helped feed 60 families in vulnerable communities during COVID19. We purchased protective gloves and wear! We put our money where our hearts are. I am so incredibly thankful If I am still able to share photos through this platform as an update once the food distribution day has been organized I will. If not please check for it on Facebook and /or you are welcome to email me at nichellemarie@gmail.com or songsofyemaya@gmail.com. Final send outs for books will be Wednesday. We did this together!

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Nichelle Calhoun posted a new update:
about 1 month ago

Update #20

Photo: This is data is from the city of Buenaventura, Colombia during COVID-19. This data was sent by Monica Leonores (leader of the collectives you are supporting) and the data reflects as of June 17, 2020. The population of Buenaventura is about 400,000 people and 90% Black. 10% Indigenous.

I grew up in P. G County. I have deep immense love for P.G County, my majority Black home county, the most affluent in the nation. I am PROUD of my county. My privileges extend from that home base, from seeing my people be able to do well, from growing up as the norm in a space. But despite its successes, the county has been hit hard during Corona. The highest number of cases in the state per capita was P.G county. My Dad lives in one of the top 5 most affected zip codes...so when we talk about health disparities based on race this is what we mean...
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My "auntie", close family friend was afraid to go to the hospital in P.G when she was suffering from complications from Corona. She was so weak that I drove behind her to the fire station because she wanted to get to the Anne Arundel County line before calling the ambulance. Enough said.
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But the vulnerability of our communities is truly not just in America. Black communities in Colombia and Brazil are so impacted, but they are already among the most divested and impoverished..again enter racial disparity in health.
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But, I got my privilege and know folks. And I have been using it to support these Black women single mothers in Colombia. You have been donating to help them buy food and get through the hump. I have 3 days left to meet my goal and the goal is more food for very vulnerable families. I'm sending money and solidarity to the P.G County of Colombia.

Thank you again for all of your continued support. If you have not received a book and you have donated over $30, please inbox me at songsofyemaya@gmail.com. Some elected to have their books donated to others, but I do not want to miss anyone.

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Nichelle Calhoun posted a new update:
about 1 month ago

Update #19

There are 6 days left in this campaign. We are digging deep to push to reach our goal. We know meeting our goal would provide at least one more food distribution day. Hopefully two! The two would be 40 days worth of food for 60 families and that would simply be amazing - taking families well into August with food on the table. By then, the hope would be that COVID-19 would be on the wane.

If you are in the position to donate or share again, we would welcome the support.

We continue to be so very gracious for your support and donations.

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Nichelle Calhoun posted a new update:
about 1 month ago

Update #18

No, no, no...I missed my very close friend. Happy Father's Day to Chuck. It is his first father's day, too. We bonded about 10 years ago over social justice and he has been one of my biggest supporters. I am convinced we will work more deeply together sooner than later. Happy First Father's Day Chuck!

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Nichelle Calhoun posted a new update:
about 1 month ago

Update #17

"My father didn't tell me how to live. He lived and let me watch him do it."

To all the fathers a part of this campaign, I want to wish you a Happy, Happy Father's Day! We have some fathers on here who are celebrating their first Father's Day (shoutout to Devon) and others who are cadets (shoutout to Jon) and others who have a few or more under their belt. To all we wish you a day of joy and expansion.

I want to make it exceedingly clear today that I am so energized by the hard lifelong work of the men who are on the ground in Colombia. I will try to be succinct, but thorough. These men are powerhouses. From the moment, I met John Montano, the Afro-Colombian mining engineer and social leader, I was blown away. The Black excellence that reigns from his strategy from economics to the environment on the Pacific Coast of Colombia is astounding. Limited resources, not limited talent in Buenaventura is the issue. The use of divestment and violence to take ancestral lands from Black families and displacement from guerrilla, paramilitary and narcotrafficking violence have cut Black men's lives short on the Pacific Coast of Colombia, leaving behind Black women with families and the gamut of struggles. To be a social leader in these conditions is no easy thing, so that is why men like John Montano and Jorge Yepes are my heroes. Both have given their lives to make life better in Colombia for Black and indigenous people.

Jorge Yepes worked in the heart of the conflict for years, creating social programs for Black and indigenous youth in Colombia until one day they threatened to kill his whole family. He had seen so much death up until that point, but he and his wife continued on hoping their work would save lives. In fact, Jorge's brave anthropologist wife, Yolima, even gave birth during the middle of the conflict. All doctors had been ordered out of the region due to guerilla threats. She had complications during her delivery and had to deliver her son amidst, causing her son to have special needs. Jorge and Maria now live in the United States and they are how I am connected to Buenaventura. It is because of them this campaign exists. It is because of their bravery, vision and belief in a Colombia where Black Lives Matter and Indigenous Lives Matter that you are donating to feed families during COVID-19.

The families you are donating to are talented Black families who live on meager means due to marginalization but have robust knowledge ancestral and contemporary. There are 30 men in the second cooperative. Like the 110 women, I applaud their hard work for keeping Black economies alive, for persevering, for helping to organize the food distribution days that we have been able to do with your donations. We are getting close - a few hundred short of our next food distribution day. I made that call to Colombia last night and said "get ready with the volunteers. The money is soon on its way."

To the brave men in Colombia. To the generous men a part of this campaign. To Jorge Yepes' vision of a better Colombia.

Happy Happy Father's Day!

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Nichelle Calhoun posted a new update:
about 1 month ago

Update #16

Happy Juneteenth!

Across the country for the first time, everyone is becoming aware of Juneteenth. Long overdue, but a move forward. I hope that energy spreads to Colombia and beyond because the legacy of slavery and racism has put too many knees on too many necks for generations of people of African Descent. But, I thank you for fighting on behalf of Afro-Colombians! Black liberation here fuels Black liberation everywhere!

We are on the road to another food distribution day. Thank you for your donation truly,

Nichelle Calhoun

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Nichelle Calhoun posted a new update:
about 1 month ago

Update #15

We are marching upward, and so determined to meet our goal of getting families past the curve of the Coronavirus in Colombia. I want to keep thanking everyone for their support as we try to get there. Books have been mailed to donors of $30 and above, unless if you have requested to donate your books to other donors. For those of you have purchased t-shirts, they have already gone to print.

I thank you, and thank you. We will feed 60 more families for 40 more days. I feel we can do this!

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Nichelle Calhoun posted a new update:
about 1 month ago

Update #14

We have officially hit 50% of our goal. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

I feel that we will make it. 60 families fed for another 40 days is the next goal. We are hoping to get these families through the height of the quarantine in Colombia! Just thank you!

The featured picture is from the last distribution date! Senior fishermen come to pick up food and gloves for their families. All of which you made possible. Thank you!

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Nichelle Calhoun posted a new update:
2 months ago

Update #13

Hello Everyone,

It has been a while since my last update, but be sure the work still continues. Before I share a direct message translated into English from Monica Leonor, the head of both collectives, I want to say thank you, thank you, thank you for all the difference you have made. Collective action makes a difference. But collective action combined with diligence and efficiency makes a little go a long way. I must tell you that I am so very impressed by how Monica has used the resources to maximize what we have sent. She had volunteers come in, arrange, organize and distribute that first distribution. The second quantity of money could not buy the full bounty of what we did foodwise the first time, but she was sure to maximize again. Below, is a direct note from her. We have 20 days left of this campaign and my heart wants to feed another 60 families for 20 more days, if you think you can spare another donation, feel good in knowing you are helping to insulate vulnerable Black families from the storm of Corona. Also for those of you who have donated at a certain level, please know books have been mailed and should be there no later than next week. Again, I thank you for all of the support. We are practicing that Black Lives Matter here and beyond.

You are the change agent and it is a pleasure to work with you.
Nichelle

From Monica:

Dear Donors,

Thank you, thank you thank you for all of your support. Please know Buenaventura stands with you during the protests in the United States.
We appreciate what you have done especially given the circumstances. We, the Pacific Coast, especially the district of Buenaventura, is currently in a complex crisis due to the increasing number of cases of Covid-19 every day. We are not prepared to face this emergency. So, we greatly appreciate the people who have given their valuable contributions from a distance that have helped the families I work with mitigate hunger and the coronavirus. It is because you have donated that we have been able to help women head-of-households and fishermen who desperately need it. That is why today we also need to strengthen the protection part to mitigate the problem a little. Due to this, the Environmental Corporation for Territorial Development, the CVEDT team and the Association of Women Enterpreneurs of Bazán Bocana plan to strengthen our work with deliveries of biosafety kits. We are committed to health and to avoiding risks of contagion for protection. We will continue in this arduous work and we will not rest until we have achieved that objective. We thank you so much for all that you are doing for us. We deeply do. You are helping feed families and save lives.

Sincerely,
Monica Leonor Mosquera

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Nichelle Calhoun posted a new update:
2 months ago

Update #12

Last Thursday, food was distributed to 60 families. Message after message and video after video showed sincere gratitude and need. Being an organizer, sometimes all I can see is what is to be done. But last Thursday, it was all about what you did. You fed families who really were not sure where food would be coming from. The women in the videos look like me and many of you. The men look like my uncles, cousins, and friends. I am just a link in the larger chain, but I see how far the chain can reach. You fed 60 families for roughly 20 days and since then we have been actively working on the next 20 days. We have raised an additional $400 since then. $1,500 gets us the golden 20 days worth of food and supplies. So, I keep my eye on being my sister's keeper. Just like you. Thank you for investing in someone else's survival because that is truly what you have done.

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Nichelle Calhoun posted a new update:
3 months ago

Update #11

Food distributed to 60 families today. Masks and gloves are also included in the "mercados." Congratulations, on a job well done. Spread the word, so that we can make sure to keep hunger away during this critical time. If you can donate again, please know you are making an immediate difference. Thank you exponentially for what you have done as a donor.

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Nichelle Calhoun posted a new update:
3 months ago

Update #10

John Montano, an Afro-Colombian social leader and engineer packs up "mercados" (packages of food) for families.

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Nichelle Calhoun posted a new update:
3 months ago

Update #9

Today is a special day in Colombia. May 21 is the day that commemorates the abolition of slavery in Colombia that took place May 21,1851. 171 years later like in other parts of the African Diaspora, Black families are still marginalized economically, politically and socially. But today because you donated, we supported Black communities on a very special day. Today, Monica Mosquera and her team John Montano and colleagues Charles and Rafael, organized all of the food they were able to purchase with your donations into "mercados." These "mercados" (packages) include rice, lentils, beans, sugar, flour, fish, coffee, masks, gloves and more and are placed in the plastic bags shown. Today, 60 families received these "mercados" which are estimated to last about 20 days. You should feel so proud. You took a chance and made a difference. Someone in a place that seems a world away is able to feed their family and children tonight and for the next 20 days because of your rapid response and action. We will continue raising money to make sure the next 20 days after that are taken care of too. We will support the most vulnerable communities during COVID-19. We honor our collective journey and ancestors in the process. Thank you from Buenaventura and from the depths of our hearts. Nichelle, Jorge and Yolima

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Nichelle Calhoun posted a new update:
3 months ago

Update #6

Last Sunday it was an idea. This Sunday, money is going to some mothers who are truly in need of assistance. I appreciate your donations. We may have more to raise, but we are sending $1,500 down today on Mother's Day. I thank you for your contributions so far and would welcome your support and shares, so next Sunday can look like this one.

Happy Mother's Day!

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Nichelle Calhoun posted a new update:
3 months ago

Update #5

I am 11 minutes into the Michelle Obama documentary, "Becoming." She says three words that automatically resonate with me this week, "the power of gathering." I want to thank you all for the "power of gathering." For taking your dollars and putting them with someone else's dollars to make a difference far away, but very intimately. We are exercising our power to gather, by making sure our brothers and sisters eat. I thank you for your power, we are approaching 25% of our goal. Continue to gather. I am deeply thankful for your support.

Photo: A Picture from El Mulato Cabaret in Cali, Colombia, February 2020.

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Nichelle Calhoun posted a new update:
3 months ago

Update #4

The day is not up but I want to keep you in the loop. I have been touched by those who have reached out to me to donate who don't even know me personally, but want to support women in need. I am learning many new skills in this process. So far, I have been the one telling the story, but thankfully just today, I learned how to create subtitles, so that you could hear directly from the fishermen and women in Bazan-Bocana. This video will give you an idea of the humanitarian challenge that people are facing. Your donations are a lifeline where other safety nets have not come to fruition. I thank you again.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jqOWclu6gF4

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Nichelle Calhoun posted a new update:
3 months ago

Update #3

Today, we were able to make that call to Buenaventura, Colombia and say "help is on the way." Because of you, in the first 24 hours we were able to raise over $1,000. Just two days ago, we were overwhelmed by the need and now there is hope that by working together we can put a dent in that need. My heart still wants to bulldoze it, though. To a group of dynamic women who have faced so much violence and conflict due to Colombia's decades long brutal war - losing husbands, children, family members and friends, we want to take hunger off the table, and show these proud, determined head of households - they are not alone. We truly have sisters in different area codes. From the bottom of my heart, Inclusion for Humanity's heart and purpose, we thank you. We will send the first installment of money donated to the women's collective by Mother's Day. We want to make sure they are able to get what they need on this day for their families. In our push to get to our goal, we ask that you share and send us any ideas to help us bulldoze the hunger the collectives face.

+57

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Nichelle Calhoun posted a new update:
3 months ago

Update #2

Campaign made public to friends and family just a few hours ago, and I am so thankful for the almost $200 already received. Packing up Songs of Yemaya to send to donors! From Baltimore to Buenaventura. From Atlanta to Buenaventura and from DC to Buenaventura! Thank you!

Nichelle Calhoun commented on a blog post:
3 months ago
Appreciate this strong start.

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