Bulletin Issue 2: Bridging the Border
A U.S.-Mexico collaboration bringing factual news and critical resources for families on the border. Click here to view our first bulletin!
Who We Are
Fundación del Empresariado Sonorense A.C. (FESAC), is an independent community foundation founded in 2003 by the Mexican state of Sonora’s business organizations and governed and supported by a council formed by Sonoran businessmen. As a Mexican-founded organization, FESAC’s leadership has formed lasting partnerships with a number of local civil-society organizations on both sides of the border to address poverty and social inequality. The founding Executive Director of the Nogales chapter of FESAC is Alma Cota De Yañez. Alma was born in Cd. Obregón, Sonora and graduated in Business Administration at the Technological Institute of Monterrey (ITESM).

FESAC works in close partnership with the Border Community Alliance (BCA) a US nonprofit in Arizona on a variety of cross border programs. This collaboration includes a fiscal arrangement approved by the US IRS that allows BCA to provide pass through US tax deductible donations to FESAC and to approved Nogales community organizations that BCA/FESAC supports. FESAC is changing the narrative from charity to social investment and the coordination of regional NGOs to bring lasting progress to a unified border region.

Pictured artwork "Paseo de la Humanidad" by Alberto Morackis, Guadalupe Serrano and Alfredo Quiroz, in Heroica Nogales, Sonora, Mexico.
Featured Community Agency: El Taller de Costura Guadalupana
Above: Lorenia Zamora, director of El Taller de Costura Guadalupana smiles behind her facemask in Nogales, Sonora.
Above: One of the sewing workshop students shows off a piece finished in September.
Lorenia Zamora did not even know how to thread a needle when she started learning sewing basics at her local community center. Today she is the director of El Taller de Costura Guadalupana, where she hosts sewing workshops for a dedicated group of women in Nogales, Sonora. 

In September, the group was approached by ARSOBO, an organization that manufactures prosthetics and provides wheelchairs for disabled patients to assist in making adaptations to ARSOBO’s prosthetics. Lorenia’s group is now focused on manufacturing harnesses for prosthetic patients. This work requires technical expertise, as each prosthetic is a custom fit and the fabric is difficult to work with. The community center closed its doors during the pandemic, so Lorenia and her small army of women work from home. The group would like to have a salon of their own, access to materials, and the opportunity to expand their business.

Some of the women have enough experience to work on their own and manufacture the products at home. This has allowed them to provide for their families and care for their children simultaneously. “It has been a source of moral support for the women, as some of them come from dysfunctional situations. It is motivation for them. They start to see this work as a future career for themselves...they are making money and supporting their children,” Lorenia tells me about the prosthetics work they are doing in collaboration with ARSOBO. 

For Lorenia, sewing was much more than a profession or discipline from the start. It was her way out of an abusive relationship and her path to financial independence. She sees this empowerment in the lives of her students as well, noting that they “have helped young women with depression.” Lorenia’s high expectations and firm teaching style have ignited confidence in her students and encouraged them to focus their energies on sewing. Her mantra to her students is, “Girls, where there is war there is hope, remember this. There is always something to do when we have problems.” Her positive spirit and strong drive keep not only her going forward, but inspire her students to take control of their own destinies.

Written by Nancy Lopez-Alvarez
Photos provided by El Taller de Costura Guadalupana
The Pandemic at the Border series highlights the impacts of Covid-19 at the border. Our reporter Kerry McCulloch–MPH student and FESAC volunteer– will provide updated information on the pandemic at the border, especially how it is affecting migrant and asylum seeker families forced to shelter on the Mexican side. Look for her articles in future bulletins and a website in the making!
The Pandemic Border Series
Border Closings: Risk to Our Border Communities

Carlos Francisco Huerta Rivera is a Nogales, Sonora, native where he works as an economist and recently co-authored a survey that takes a close look at Covid-19 in Nogales, Sonora. The survey was conducted by an interdisciplinary team with the aim to propose mechanisms to better analyze the size and scope of the pandemic, and to influence policy makers. 

A key take-away from the interview with Carlos is the importance of keeping the US/ Mexico border open. Currently, border crossings between the sister cities of Nogales, Arizona and Nogales, Sonora are closed to all “non-essential” travel, which includes shopping trips and family visits. Unfortunately, a culture of xenophobia amongst policy makers on both sides of the border has led to some people calling for a complete shutdown of the border, which Carlos calls dangerous. “Policy makers are living in Mexico City and Washington, D.C. and don’t understand the deepness of the relationship between Mexico and the United States right here at the border.” In the border regions the people living on each side of the border have an interdependent relationship. Border communities are unique in the important role they play for both countries-- keeping the border open allows for a strong binational supply chain and fosters empathy, connection, and support between across-border neighbors. When we close the border, communities are locked out from opportunities to exchange not just goods and services, but ideas, strategies, policies-- all the ways that border communities contribute to a greater understanding and appreciation of their respective nations. 

Written by Kerry McCulloch
Photo Updates
15 women and their children arrived at the Juan Bosco Shelter in October. After being deported to Mexico, they are still hopeful for asylum in the US.
The San Juan Bosco Shelter welcomed a newborn in October! Her mother, hopeful for asylum, made the difficult journey from El Salvador while pregnant.
Children focused on their schoolwork in Deijuven, an organization dedicated to educational development in Nogales. Some children must use their mothers' phones to attend their online classes.
Photos provided by San Juan Bosco Shelter and Deijuven.
An Interview with FESAC Supporters
Video provided by Andy Carman.
Video provided by Terry Grove.
In the fall of 2017, Andy Carman, clinical psychologist, and Terry Grove, former speech therapist, went on a tour sponsored by the Border Community Alliance. What they saw inspired them to make a monthly financial commitment to FESAC after our first bulletin was published. When asked about what moved them to give, Andy described how “it was so moving to see people that are so in need be embraced by citizens of Nogales that are not social workers working for the county. They’re local people who created these charities for strangers, people migrating through.” What really impressed Terry about FESAC was the integrity of everybody involved, and trust that her contribution will go directly to people that need it. As Andy says, “to make it across, it shows a kind of tenacity and grit. They’re the kind of people we need here, or anywhere.” Although the border is closed to immigrants seeking asylum in the US, Andy’s words help us remember the valuable contributions that migrants and asylum seekers make to our communities.
How To Support
FESAC Nogales | [email protected] | Website