June 18, 2020

World Refugee Day. In Mexico, AVSI works with 500 migrants to restore dignity and foster social inclusion

To protect and promote the rights of migrant children and adolescents, AVSI launched “Dignified Inclusion,” a project co-financed by the European Union and implemented with Dignity and Justice on the Road A.C. and FM4 Paso Libre shelter

Born in Honduras, 17-year-old Ricardo left for the United States alone in search of the American Dream. After riding across Mexico on a train known as “The Beast” and escaping from the immigration police while trying to cross the border to the United States, Ricardo finally found the FM4 Paso Libre shelter, in the state of Jalisco. There, he was able to apply for a permit to be recognized as a refugee in Mexico.

"After I went to FM4, I could get immigration papers, start a new life, and finally live in peace."

In the last three years, the flow of migrant children and adolescents who, like Ricardo, travel across Mexico to reach the United States has increased. In the first months of 2019, the FM4 Paso Libre shelter received 562 migrant children and adolescents, 95% more than the total number of children and adolescents in 2018.

For the Latin American migrant community, Mexico has always been considered a country of “transit”; a quick stop until the final destination. However, now shelters have become places where migrants stay for longer time periods, around 6-8 months.

To improve the situation of the migrants, AVSI in partnership with two local partners, Dignity and Justice on the Road A.C. and FM4 Paso Libre, and with funds from the European Union, has launched “Dignified Inclusion.” The goal is to support more than 500 migrant children and adolescents, four shelters, 120 human rights lawyers and 16 public and private schools in the states of Oaxaca and Jalisco over the next three years.  The intervention includes the design, implementation, and dissemination of an Alternative Care Model for migrant children.

"An important component of this project is the sensitization of schools, civil society, public opinion and host communities about the situation of migrant children."

Besides, this project seeks to generate a strong linkage between public and private actors, nationally and internationally, which will be a crucial factor in the promotion of models and protocols focused on the Human Rights of children migrants in Mexico. The project will help restore the dignity and foster the social inclusion of children and adolescents during their stay, so they can feel a little closer to home, and at the same time, have a real and humane experience.