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Lutheran World Relief: Supporting Children Returned to Central America

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Kids in El Salvador sit and watch as LWR staff visit with members in a local community. [Photo courtesy of LWR]

Kids in El Salvador sit and watch as LWR staff visit with members in a local community. [Photo courtesy of LWR]

Below is a recent blog from the Lutheran World Relief website, LWR.org, posted on August 8, 2014. Lutheran World Relief is a nonprofit organization that works with Lutherans and partners around the world to end poverty, injustice, and human suffering.  Their mission calls for “loving our neighbors and serving communities overseas.”

LWR is not working in the United States, but in Honduras and El Salvador to support children when they are returned to their home countries. Additionally, LWR is developing long-term solutions to address the root causes of the economic problems that have pushed so many people, especially minors, to migrate to the United States. Please read on …

 Three Ways LWR is Helping Unaccompanied Minors

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.

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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.

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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!

 

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