Saturday, November 10, 2007

Josefina's Story - Day Worker Center of Mountain View

Note: This article was printed with the permission of Nueva Fronteras, the newsletter of the Day Worker Center of Mountain View and Josefina Vailon a worker in the Center who has generously shared her success story. The Day Worker Center works to empower low-income, recent immigrants through fair employment, education, and job skills training with the goal of obtaining full self-sufficiency. The Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD) of the Diocese of San Jose has provided grant funding to this help support this program.

Josefina Vailon, 39, Puebla, Mexico
March 20, 2007

I thought that once I stepped onto American soil, I would be a free person. I thought that here was a nation made by immigrants, full of opportunity, full of jobs, that is the dream. People who are born here, even our own kids at times, don’t understand the struggle to make life better for yourself and your family. They don’t understand what extreme poverty is, not to have shoes to wear, not to be able to go to school, not to even have food to eat. They don’t see the desperation people feel who have absolutely nothing.

Before we crossed the border, I spent a month in Tijuana with my children, living out of trashcans. People are hard there; there’s no work. Many day workers are women. We have children to raise, we have families to support, we can’t be in the street, at anyone’s mercy.

There are people who say that we’re thieves, coming here to live on welfare, but it’s not true. We are not criminals. We are here to work. We just want to be recognized for the work we do. I used to work for different companies where the pay was extremely low, and sometimes we had to wait five or six weeks to get paid. Thanks to the Center, we have the opportunity to find work that pays a better salary.

I’ve been in this country for 14 years and I’ve never had the opportunity to take English classes until I came to the Center. All of us want to learn. At the Center, when we’re not working, we’re studying and learning. Now, one of my children is graduating from high school and one is attending university. They are living the opportunity that coming here has given to them. I’m very grateful for that. All we want is an opportunity.


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