Save the Children is taking action to assist children and families affected by U.S. immigration policy in recent months, and to strengthen our work to address the root causes of migration from Central America. Bringing decades of humanitarian expertise, we seek to sustain and strengthen our ongoing work in El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala and Mexico, where pervasive and often ruthless violence has families living in fear for their lives and safety.
Save the Children has a strong presence and longstanding child- and youth-focused programs in the countries of origin for the majority of migrating children, adolescents and families, and in Mexico, which is both a source and transit country. We have used our presence and expertise to launch humanitarian programs to protect children, address the needs of children returning from the U.S. and reduce violence.
We seek to prevent dangerous and forced migration through activities such as awareness campaigns on the risks and rights associated with migration and programs related to youth empowerment, jobs training and family livelihoods.
We also strengthen national protection systems to care for children and adolescents in their home communities, as well as during transit and return, including family reunification, so that they can access their rights to dignity, protection and security.
Recent examples of our work include:
- Pilot projects to interrupt the cycle of gang violence in El Salvador and to create “Schools of Peace” at 70 schools in Guatemala, Honduras and Mexico.
- A collaboration among Save the Children, the Mexican Agency for International Development Cooperation, the Secretary of Social Development and the German Cooperation Development group to prevent the migration of unaccompanied children from targeted communities by enhancing their livelihoods and life skills opportunities.
- Advocating for violence reduction at the community and government levels in Honduras and Guatemala.
- Preventing trafficking and smuggling of women and youth at risk or victims of human trafficking in Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala.
- Improving protection systems for children who have been displaced and/or returned to El Salvador and Honduras after migration.
- Providing sexual and reproductive health services to returning adolescents in El Salvador and Guatemala.
- Working to ensure that children in border shelters in Mexico are being protected from harm and have access to psychological and emotional support activities.
Save the Children is the national leader in child-focused disaster preparedness, response and recovery. We have over 80 years’ experience serving the needs of U.S. children and have well-trained national staff ready to deploy anywhere at a moment’s notice to assess needs, help protect children and provide critical relief. We are a partner of the Red Cross and a member of National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters.
We are also one of the few organizations in Central America with longstanding programs primarily focused on children and adolescents in El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala and Mexico. Each year, we reach 2.8 million children in these countries with protection, health and education programs.
Save the Children was founded in 1919 on the pioneering belief that every last child has the right to survive, learn and be protected. Today, we continue this work, advocating for children facing inhumane treatment and potential irreparable harm at the U.S.-Mexico border. Through all of the complexities of this crisis, one thing is clear and simple: we can and must do more to protect children and keep families together.
To learn more about the work Save the Children has done in Guatemala to protect children so they are safe in their home communities, read our photo-essay on Medium.
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