“No man is an island,
Entire of itself,
Every man is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.”
– John Donne
Many countries, just like Puerto Rico, are facing severe economic and cultural downfalls. And, just like on the Island, people from all over the world leave their countries in search for better futures elsewhere. These people become a country’s diaspora. The UN estimates that 244 million people are living as immigrants in other countries. That’s 3.3% of the world population. We tend to focus on how these immigrants affect the country they live in, on what influences they have had upon the people there and what they’ve brought to the country. However, many times it is easy to forget that diasporas are powerhouses for their countries of origin, often contributing monetarily and professionally back to their homes.
Here a list of how diasporas have helped move their countries forward:
- Indian Diaspora
India’s diaspora is increasing daily. In fact, the country has the largest diaspora adding up to approximately 16 million Indians living in other countries. Not only does India have the largest diaspora in the world but it also received the largest remittances by its foreign workers. In case you’re not familiar, remittances are money transfers sent from a country’s diaspora to their home country. People who work in foreign countries tend to wire money to their families and loved ones who are in need in their country of origin. In 2015, the World Bank reported that India received approximately $69 million in remittances. That means that India’s diaspora single-handedly contributed $69 million to India’s economy.
- African Diaspora
The African diaspora in England has come together in the form of the organization 1:54 London. This non-profit showcases African art and their culture through representations from the African diaspora. The exhibitions have even expanded onto other countries to bring awareness of the different social and economic obstacles young artists in Africa face. There will be an upcoming Contemporary African Art Fair in New York from May 5-7, 2017. This means that Africa’s Diaspora is bringing awareness to other parts of the world. With this, immigrants can bring into view the different hardships faced in the continent and can motivate others to help, contribute donations and get involved!
Apart from bringing awareness to African art, organizations like the African Entrepreneurs Coalition work to bring about trade between the Americas and Africa. They know that an important step in the development of Africa’s nations in business is to bring ties from around the globe in order to promote international cooperation between developing countries.
- Mexican Diaspora
In 2012, research showed that there are approximately 33.7 Hispanics of Mexican origin living in the United States. Though the increasing number of Mexican immigrants in the United States may be alarming to some, it turns out that the Mexican diaspora has had incredible impact on Mexico and the United States. The Mexican diaspora in the United states contributed around $22.8 billion in remittances, according to a study by the Rockefeller Foundation-Aspen Institute Diaspora Program (RAD). The Mexican diaspora has also become a prominent voting group in the United States as it accounts for around 11% of their population.
Inspired by the movement Teach for America, Mexico has developed its own version of the educational powerhouse called Enseña por México, which strives to further the education of children in the country. The close relation between the United States and Mexico has inspired collaboration, such as the case with the U.S.-Mexico Foundation. This foundation motivates a healthy relationship between Mexicans and Americans, even providing employment opportunities for a returning diaspora and emphasizing bilingualism in modern education. They have also developed the program 1000 Girls 1000 Futures, which offers mentorship for young Mexican women interested in a career in STEM.
Here are some notable organizations with the aim of helping diasporas bring back to their community:
Working from the United States, this organization focuses on supporting foreign health professionals with the goal of improving health systems abroad in their countries of origin.
A platform based on the United States for the promotion of networking between diasporas from different countries.
Founded by a member of the African diaspora in the United States, Borderline Pictures aims “to create positive change in the world by leveraging the power of multimedia in the digital age.”
Like many of us, the people who form part of a country’s diaspora are simply seeking better opportunities for themselves and their loved ones. “No man is an island,” as John Donne wrote, and thus we must realize that immigrants and even migrants help move the economy in ways we least expect. Diasporas can be the turning point for many countries and can mobilize economies, cultures and education. When they return to their countries, they bring with them the culture, education and even economic stability they acquired abroad.
Just think, if diasporas from all over the world have been contributing to their countries, what can the young entrepreneurs from Puerto Rico living abroad do for our Island? Just by uniting and forming a giant network of Puerto Ricans who live across the globe, we can significantly improve our economy and the future of our young professionals. Furthermore, going out there to find unique opportunities can, in the long run, help the Island. Bringing your knowledge, your education and your expertise to professionals in Puerto Rico can vastly improve our Island’s state and contribute to a better, brighter tomorrow! Connect with Puerto Rican professionals now by visiting Puerto Rico Global’s networking platform!
Viviana Del Manzano
Puerto Rican Global Blogger