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Lolita Ayala
Lolita Ayala

Mexican journalist speaks at UTSA Mexico Center

By James Benavides
Public Affairs Specialist

(Oct. 19, 2007)--Mexican journalist and philanthropist Lolita Ayala says indifference, prejudice and denial are not solutions for human problems, but generosity is. The respected television journalist spoke at an Oct. 5 lunchtime lecture at the UTSA Mexico Center at the Downtown Campus.

Ayala discussed her philanthropic work, the most recent project spotlighting an aspect of immigration that often goes unnoticed. Her foundation established a center in Matamoros, Mexico, to assist in the repatriation of children caught in the middle of the complicated immigration issue.

According to Ayala, nearly 20,000 children attempt border crossings into the United States every year and 50,000 have been repatriated in the last five years. Often, the children attempt border crossings to reunite with their parents or other relatives already in the United States. In reintegrating these children into Mexican society, Ayala said, they often are separated from their families and are alone and without advocates.

"Generosity is one of the essential virtues of the human race," said Ayala. "We can create opportunities in education, in athletics, in family assistance -- to remove obstacles and help these children reach their goals."

In response to the 1985 Mexico City earthquake, Ayala founded the charitable organization, Sólo por Ayudar (Only to Help). After building 250 homes, the foundation continued its contributions to Mexico's indigent, establishing a homeless shelter for children and operating a food bank that supports an estimated 60,000 people each month. Other missions under Sólo por Ayudar include leukemia research and treatment, facilitation of kidney transplants, burn treatment, animal rights advocacy, and cerebral palsy and Down syndrome research.

The UTSA Mexico Center mission is to open dialogues that discuss and promote policy recommendations and bilateral solutions to issues relevant to the United States and Mexico. For more information, call (210) 458-2923.

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