OBceans Volunteering at Tijuana Orphanages, Migrant Centers

by on October 9, 2019 · 1 comment

in Ocean Beach, San Diego

By Brett Warnke

San Diego is a refugee city.

Yet, in an age of fears and in a time of increased dislocation, millions of people are on the move. Spurred by bad policies, corruption, inequality, gangsterism, war and climate change migrants find themselves jammed in ad hoc centers and refugee camps in developing cities like Tijuana with few resources.

Many migrants have been blocked from entry and wait in an impoverished limbo, uncertain what will come.

Seeing this reality, The Sharda Yoga Center is working to fuse yoga and art education for people caught in this horrifying vortex.  It’s founder, Nora Munoz, believes making art and yoga available to all children regardless of class or socio-economic status is a goal worth achieving.

“We are dedicated to providing a clean, safe, and welcoming space for children to develop their yoga practice, creativity and future.”

Cultivating Children’s Futures was founded in October 2017 by Munoz.  She founded Sharda Yoga Center in 2016.

Volunteers from Ocean Beach go monthly to Tijuana to participate in yoga classes and volunteer work with Sharda’s goals and vision in mind.

re-Unify founder Nikki Bose was doing donation-based classes at the former OB Garden Cafe and heard about the group.  She organized a group of friends and yoga clients to visit Tijuana where they are working to organize a fundraiser for a rooftop space for children to play and practice yoga.

With one wall painted as the ocean, the Tijuana space is alive with poses and toys.  Each Saturday different orphanages arrive. Volunteers visit migrant centers as well as housing for Central American migrants.  These migrants, denounced in screaming fits as criminals in “caravans” by the President and his racist supporters in 2018, migrant families now live in tents set up around the border.

“The shelters are basically a bunch of women and children bonded to form one big family.  They’re providing for each other. People are donating food and supplies. But they are under-staffed.  The workers there are exhausted, so when we arrive to play with the kids, they have this look of relief!  Finally, we get a break,” Bose said.

Sharda, modeled on the Montessori model, has brought donations over the border from San Diego including food, yoga mats, and other supplies and could always use more.

The children sometimes do yoga, but sometimes just need human contact.

“Sometimes the kids just need us to recognize that they are there.  They point at you, they choose you because they need 1:1 attention that they may not have gotten that day.  When they see us return—when we know we came back for them, it really means something to them,” Bose said.

Many San Diegans visit with high-energy or goals of yoga, but end up simply stretching or laughing with the other volunteers.

The group needs supplies, clothes, food, toys.  But mostly THEY NEED VOLUNTEERS. They cross the border once a month and need reliable people to sign up.  Any person can come, no training in yoga is required.

You can go to Sharda’s facebook page or website for more information to volunteer.  You also can go to re-Unify’s website if you are looking to volunteer with a group or donate supplies.

To volunteer or donate check this out 

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Avatar Nanci Kelly October 9, 2019 at 8:39 pm

What you are doing for these children and families is absolutely wonderful. Thank you so much for your work, and for providing information about how we can help.

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