Christine Nieves was greeted with the tragedy of Hurricane Maria in September 2017. To initially support her community, Christine co-created Proyecto de Apoyo Mutuo Mariana (Project for Mutual Aid Mariana), a cooperative open-air kitchen and neighborhood resource that convenes local community members, providing an oasis complete with solar panels, free Wi-Fi, rainwater collection and filtration for cooking, and serves up to 300 meals per day. With her eyes set on the long-term recovery, Christine and her collaborators are shifting to sustainable development. From transforming an abandoned school building into a community center for cultural and artistic projects, to identifying and marshalling resources for individuals to launch micro-businesses, her team is finding ways to support healing from individual and collective trauma. Christine Nieves is co-founder and President of Emerge Puerto Rico - an initiative focused on rooting cutting-edge Climate Change leadership and education in holistic Indigenous and African wisdom. She is also a Bridge Fellow at TNTP where she is working to learn how the education field can better prepare for the growing instances of natural and human-made disasters affecting students, schools, and communities.Find out more
As Christine Nieves learned in the days and weeks following Hurricane Maria, “when disasters happen, the person right in front of you is your best chance at survival.” After Hurricane Maria decimated the physical and material infrastructure of the island of Puerto Rico, Christine began to mobilize what could not be destroyed, the community.
Watch her TEDMED 2018 talk “Why community is our best chance for survival—a lesson post-Hurricane Maria” to learn how Christine and her team are finding ways to support healing from individual and collective trauma.