Proyecto Matria, Miraflores


Among the many projects and initiatives spearheaded by the community organization Casa Pueblo, located in the town of Adjuntas, those involving solar power have become a priority since Hurricane Maria devastated the island in September. The topic of renewable energy becomes more and more relevant as the months pass and many of Puerto Rico's rural communities, including most of Adjuntas and its neighboring towns, remain without power.

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For the eight communities that border the Martin Peña Canal, a 3.7-mile-long body of water that connects the San Juan Bay with the San José Lagoon, Hurricane Maria worsened an already dire situation. Extreme poverty, faulty infrastructure and recurring public health issues have plagued the 25,000 residents of this area for generations. The source of many of these issues is years of garbage and vegetation accumulating in the channel, blocking the flow of water and flooding the communities whenever it rains. For years the nonprofit organizations that work with these communities have demanded that the government dredge the channel.

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The link between nature and community is central to Para la Naturaleza's tireless and far reaching conservation efforts. Through workshops and events, tours of their visitor centers, and volunteer programs such as Citizen Science, they've spent years educating and actively involving people in their mission to safeguard ecologically and historically significant sites on the island.

After Hurricane Maria, Para la Naturaleza refocused its work to offer much needed services to rural communities, while simultaneously organizing a plan to reforest the island since many trees were either destroyed or damaged during the storm.

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Less than two weeks after Hurricane Maria brought the island to a standstill, the Puerto Rico Museum of Contemporary Art (MAC by its Spanish initials) opened its gates and celebrated the event Luz Verde a la Cultura. The storm inspired art and creative writing workshops, while live music and dance performances offered a respite from the crisis.

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Consistent treatment is essential for children with a disability or with autism. This is why a week after Hurricane Maria struck the island, SER de Puerto Rico’s therapists were already offering their services at the organization’s centers in Ponce and San Juan.

“If our kids’ conditions aren’t treated, they worsen,” explained Nilda Morales, president of SER de Puerto Rico, a nonprofit that annually works with 4,600 children and adults with special needs.

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