Transient

About Us

Friends Beyond Borders is a not for profit project created by public school teachers to provide educational experiences that will improve our understanding of extreme poverty, human rights and relevant global justice issues. We collaborate with educators, activists, and community organizations in the Dominican Republic to organize an annual  "reality tour"  for teachers who want to immerse themselves in real life experiences related to developing an understanding of critical, global issues.

During the tour, we spend a great deal of time in dialog and collaboration with one another, processing our experiences and sharing  teaching ideas that will help the group bring the experience back to our classrooms. One of the great benefits of this project is having the privilege of meeting so many inspired, and socially engaged educators from across the United States. The teachers who join this project span every grade level and subject area, each of them bringing their unique interests, perspectives and teaching experiences to the group. Each summer we end the tour energized and inspired by one another; the fire within us is reignited as we prepare to return to our classrooms in order to teach for justice in an unjust world. 

One  need not be a public school teacher to join us, but we do ask that all participants be willing to share what they have learned within their communities upon returning home.

In JuIy, we offer a reality tour especially designed to meet the needs and interests of students (ages 13-20) which introduces youth participants to critical, global issues through a series of fun, people-to-people experiences that build leadership skills and cross-cultural understanding.

In 2006-2008 we were awarded a grant from the NJEA Hipp Foundation for Educational Excellence and have since expanded beyond our state borders to collaborate with school and community organizations across the U.S. Over 200 teachers from all over the United Sates have participated in our annual "Teachers Social Justice Tour" to the Dominican Republic.  

Join us as we explore the roots of extreme poverty from Columbus through slavery and colonialism, to the effects of present day globalization.  Registration is now open for our 2016 projects.  Participation will be limited to approximately 20, so it is important that you contact us as soon as possible to reserve your place.  Please write to Kevin at lamastra@mac.com to request your registration materials.  

 

 

What is a social justice tour?

 Unlike the more typical service learning or faith based projects seen on the island, our goal is not to deliver charity or perform a service. Instead, we come  with the intention of learning and engaging in dialog as participants seeking to  understand critical, global justice issues that are connected to the root causes of extreme poverty.  As we travel across the island we will meet with Dominican and Haitian activists, scholars and grassroots  organizations.  As we are welcomed into their local communities, we will develop a greater understanding of the interconnected problems that stem from and are exacerbated by extreme poverty and  globalization. Through a series of intimate meetings and real life experiences, we will learn how these communities are impacted by racism, discrimination, hunger, global migration, HIV/AIDS, gender inequality, human trafficking, child labor and climate change, and witness local efforts to organize in opposition to these problems. 

If you have come here to help me, you are wasting your time.  But if you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together.

 

Union organizers who have risked their lives in order to improve working conditions in the free trade zones, met with our teachers' delegation.

Dee Dee Mirabal passionately shares her life experiences with our teacher's group.  Her three sisters were martyred in struggle against the Trujillo Dictatorship. They are now national heroes, known as "Las  Mariposas." Their story was made well know to U.S. readers through the success of the Julia Alvarez novel, In the Time of Butterflies

What is the difference between free trade and fair trade?