In March 2018, Central America Leadership Initiative (CALI) Class XIII Fellow Tanya Mroczek-Amador was leading Corner of Love, a 27-year-old organization in northern Nicaragua dedicated to serving rural families by providing access to education, health care, and clean water. But when the crisis broke out, her world changed. With rising violence in their town and surrounding area, Tanya and her husband made the difficult decision to relocate to Costa Rica and shift their focus toward alleviating the suffering of refugees fleeing the country.
At first, their work began organically with Tanya and her husband greeting groups of five or ten at the border. But very quickly, the demand of the situation required them to scale rapidly, turning their initial outreach into a new Corner of Love international base of operations. Today, working with volunteers from across the world, Corner of Love-Costa Rica serves up to 180 migrants per day. Tanya has physicians, dentists, nurse practitioners, pharmacists, and volunteers all working to provide migrants with the basic necessities for life in a new country.
Along the way, Tanya enlisted the help of other Fellows around the AGLN. At her Leading in an Era of Globalization seminar in February, she presented her challenge to Fellows from China, Europe, the United States, South Africa. She was met with support in the form of humanitarian aid and strategic advice to help move Corner of Love, and the condition of refugees, forward. To date, she has reached more than 5,000 refugees and hopes to expand her work into San Jose, the capital of Costa Rica, as well as build a permanent facility near the border.
In addition to humanitarian aid, Tanya is providing the space for the refugee community to come together to share their stories and to feel valued, heard, and loved. By honoring their experiences through these conversations, she is creating the conditions for healing to begin.
I really think that, right now, one of the biggest things Corner of Love is doing is meeting refugees, sharing our story, and listening to theirs, because they really get that we’re walking with them. Legitimizing their story is just worth so much more than the stuff they get that day.
— TANYA MROCZEK-AMADOR