Latinx @ UVA

Latinx @ UVA

Towards a Better Latin America

TBLA is a student organization that seeks the amelioration of Latin American society by engaging in a variety of on-grounds initiatives. These include: holding fundraisers for the underprivileged of the region, unifying the Latin American student body, and creating awareness of the contemporary challenges that the region encounters. In the past, this organization has focused primarily on raising funds to support ongoing projects and NGO’s that aid the problem-ridden communities in the region.

In 2011, TBLA raised $3,000 to help build a septic tank for a Hospital in a low-income community in the outskirts of Panama City. In 2012, TBLA raised $3,500 to support an NGO called Libras de Amor which sought to build small poultry farms for malnourished families in El Salvador so as to give them a sustainable source of food. Last year, TBLA contributed  $2,000 to an NGO in Costa Rica which gives merit-based scholarships to girls that do not have the resources to pay for tuition at a semi-private high school.

Mission:

Towards a Better Latin America (TBLA) is an organization open to individuals who have any type of connection with Latin America ranging from heritage to curiosity. For this reason, TBLA focuses its events around grounds on providing greater insight to students, faculty and community members about the various situations Latin American countries are experiencing: culturally, socially, economically and politically.  The goal of the organization is not only creating awareness about issues and successes in Latin America but also sparking critical action and motivational leadership within the community.

 


Our Website: Website

Founding year:

Early 2000's by a Brazilian UVa student

Founders:

Unknown

Creation:

TBLA was founded for the very same reason of why people want to join the organization: to raise awareness and let individuals at the University of Virginia know about what goes on in Latin America. It is one thing to read the newspapers about political, social, economic and humanitarian topics, but it is a totally different experience to hear about Latin America from individuals that get to call the region their home. International students need a home away from home, a place were they could keep their traditions alive regardless of how far away they may be. It is also a beautiful way to see many different cultures coming together to represent the Latin American region and its unity.

Structure:

TBLA has an executive board that meets on a weekly basis, which is composed of various chairs, a treasurer, a vice president and a president. The chairs (Marketing, Social, Community Outreach and Fundraising) have their own individual groups of students who work together to reach specific goals. Every semester TBLA takes on a big project where the executive board delegates tasks to each smaller group ensuring that every member is taking part in the larger project. At least once a month there is a general body meeting where all the students get a chance to meet and see the direction that the group is heading towards. During those meetings the organization encourages as many students as possible to share their thoughts in an effort to include a holistic vision at every stage of the larger project.

Efforts:

  • In 2011, TBLA raised $3,000 to help build a septic tank for a Hospital in a low-income community in the outskirts of Panama City. In 2012, TBLA raised $3,500 to support an NGO called Libras de Amor which sought to build small poultry farms for malnourished families in El Salvador so as to give them a sustainable source of food. Last year, TBLA contributed  $2,000 to an NGO in Costa Rica which gives merit-based scholarships to girls that do not have the resources to pay for tuition at a semi-private high school.  
  • In 2016 when the Ecuador Earthquake hit, TBLA created Hoos For Ecuador and began an impromptu campaign that raised over $5000 USD for the victims of the Earthquake.  This was done through a combination of tabling and a massive social media campaign, in a record time of almost 10 days. TBLA realized that this was also part of their role as students from Latin America where in the event of immediate crisis such as the Ecuador earthquake, the Mexico earthquake in 2017 or the humanitarian crisis in both Nicaragua and Venezuela, TBLA will have a reactionary plan of action to raise funds and awareness in the University.
  • In the spring of 2018, TBLA  began their first edition of the Evaluating Latin American Conference (ELA): Where Has Latin America Been and Where is It Heading?. With five renowned guest speakers from the Inter-American Development Bank, Washington Office for Latin American Affairs and the University of Virginia we were able to create a dialogue that focused on explaining the past and predicting the future of Latin America. The event was a true testament of what TBLA is capable of doing; getting a group of people together from different backgrounds, countries and cultures to discuss crucial issues in one of the most important and rising regions in the world: Latin America.
  • In the fall of 2018, TBLA created an exhibition shelter outside of Peabody Hall in order to educate students about the Venezuelan refugee and migrant crisis. Through this exhibition shelter, TBLA was able to raise $10,000 to help refugees.



Information collected through an interview with Gabriela Corredor (C/O 2019)