Three ways LWR is helping unaccompanied minors

Kids sitting around on old tires in El Salvador
Kids in El Salvador sit and watch as LWR staff visit with members in a local community. LWR works in Central America to provide lasting solutions to the causes that push people to migrate to the United States.

by
Aug 8, 2014

More than 50,000 children have arrived at the U.S./Mexico border alone so far this year. Nearly 40,000 women and children have arrived as families.[source] All have endured an incredibly dangerous journey to escape violence and despair in Central America. Current efforts to expedite their deportation place their safety and well-being in jeopardy.

While this issue is playing out along the U.S. border, this issue also underlines the long-term challenge facing so many in Central America and elsewhere who struggle to cope with economic marginalization, changing weather patterns, grinding poverty and the violence endemic in these states.

As LWR President Daniel Speckhard recently pointed out,  poverty created the environment for these situations to escalate. While the children at the border have very immediate needs, it’s also important to address the root causes of this problem.

Here are three ways LWR is committed to helping in Central America:

1. Providing for children and families

LWR is working with national governments, organizations and church bodies in El Salvador and Honduras, such as Lutheran World Federation and the Lutheran Church of El Salvador. Together we’ll work to provide shelter, material needs, protection and psychosocial support for children and families returned to these countries from the U.S and Mexico.

2. Working with pastors to support returning children

After their long and arduous journeys, children who are returned will need extra support to be able to cope. As a part of our work with the Lutheran Church in El Salvador, we’ll provide training for pastors on best practices to support unaccompanied minors who are returned. The training will also help pastors work to prevent children from migrating alone in the future.

3. Long-term solutions to poverty

LWR’s work in Central America to advance rural development provides lasting solutions that address the economic causes that push people to migrate to the United States.

For example, in Honduras, LWR helps farmers diversify agricultural production, improve on-farm processing and storage, and strengthen local food markets. This helps strengthen their livelihoods, earn enough money to support their families and help them remain in their homes.

In El Salvador, LWR is working to address development challenges for poor and at-risk families. Among other activities, our local partner helps those families leverage credit. We are also engaging youth social risk assessment programs and working with two youth associations to increase their civic engagement.

#452666038 / gettyimages.com

You can help

Lutheran World Relief works alongside partners and communities in El Salvador and Honduras, addressing the root causes of poverty with long-term, sustainable development projects.

In addition to that work, LWR has dedicated approximately $100,000 (50k per country) to help ensure that the needs of unaccompanied children returning to these countries are met.

You can help support this work with a gift to LWR’s Central America Unaccompanied Children fund. Your gifts will not only help carry out the activities outlined above, but will help us respond to any emerging needs that may arise.

You can also help by keeping all the children traveling to the borders in your prayers, along with their families and all the people who work to ensure their protection.

Thank you!

is a nonprofit organization that works with Lutherans and partners around the world to end poverty, injustice, and human suffering.

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Categories: El Salvador, Honduras, Latin America
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  • anonymous

    I feel sorry for these children. However, I know our country is overwhelmed with illegal aliens. And, as a tax payer, I’m not maybe as compassionate as I maybe should be. Because, there are so many people here in the USA that need help and we’re trying to help those that come here illegally. Please pray for me. Our social services are overwhelmed. Schools are overwhelmed too! I will not be sending money to help this cause. As a religious organization, you should be taking care of home first and foremost! There is only so much you can do. We are on our way to third world status in spite of the tax dollars we pay. Nobody get’s it! Until your children have to go with out water or food or a roof over their head… But it’ll be too late then. We are being decended on like locust. The more you feel sorry, the more resourceful illegal immigration has come.

    • LutheranWorldRelief

      Thank you for your comment. Since our founding, LWR’s mission has called us to love our neighbors and serve communities overseas.

      We are not working in the United States. We are working in Honduras and El Salvador to support children who are returned, as well as provide lasting solutions that address the economic causes that push people to migrate to the United States.

  • Gloria

    I think I understand the feelings that bring about “anonymous'” comments. It’s easy to begin to worry about how this overwhelming immigration situation will all turn out in the end. What helps me in this situation is to think about how the borders of our nations are arbitrary in a way. They can’t be seen from above. Except for the native Americans, we all descended from immigrants. People elsewhere in the world have just as much right to the world’s resources as someone in the US. Crops grow better on some soils than others. So the wealth is not spread evenly around the world. What if you were born in one of the highly impoverished areas of the world? How would you think then? No one chooses where to be born. It’s true justice when we make decisions for the world without knowing where geographically we would end up and whether we would be sighted or blind, young or old, male or female, black or white or red or brown, intelligent or slow, able-bodied or handicapped, and so on. No one wants their children to have to go without water or food or a roof over their head, no matter where they were born. One of the points I have heard from terrorists who have sought to bring down the US is that we are an ugly nation of excess and greed. That is one point hard to argue with. It won’t be easy to bring peace to the world when there is so much lopsidedness to the resources. We need peace.