The Dream Project, a nonprofit organization offering educational assistance to immigrants in Northern Virginia through scholarships and mentoring, has established an emergency relief fund to help immigrant students and families who are struggling due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Immigrants — especially those who are undocumented, have DACA or TPS statuses, or are asylum seekers — work in fields that have been hardest hit by COVID-19 job losses. Due to their immigration status, many students the Dream Project works with have been unable to file for unemployment, receive emergency relief checks, utilize paid sick leave, or continue working remotely, leaving them financially vulnerable.
“Because the school closed all of the libraries on campus, I can’t work, which was my primary form of income for my rent and food. My mother can’t help because she works as a barber and won’t be able to return to work until June,” Henry, a Dream Project scholarship recipient said.
That is why the Dream Project established an emergency fund to provide financial assistance to Dream Project scholars and their families, in hope that the assistance will allow immigrant students to continue to focus on their education, rather than financial worries.
Since it was established on March 30, the relief fund has raised more than $60,000 for immigrants in the Northern Virginia community, and as of April 22 has approved 63 requests totaling $38,000.
“Thank you to all our supporters and allies who have donated to the DREAM Project Emergency Relief Fund. These are very hard times for our immigrant community and I appreciate all the support that we’ve received thus far. I know we can always count on our DREAM Project family to help us, to support us, to hold us up, and to protect us. Thank you again for helping my family and I. We don’t have enough words to thank you,” one relief fund recipient said.
The Dream Project Executive Director Lizzette Arias is encouraging additional donors to ensure the relief fund can continue to meet its demand.
“Now more than ever undocumented students are struggling to make ends meet. We need donors and advocates to ensure Dreamers can succeed in life. I urge everyone to look for ways to help this vulnerable population,” she said.
Donations to the Dream Project’s emergency relief fund can be made here: dreamproject-va.org/donate/