Migrants’ Day will be celebrated on December 18. Therefore, from ARCORES International we take stock of some of the projects that are responsible for supporting this group.
Costa Rica: “We are brothers”
The “We Are Brothers” campaign, launched by ARCORES Costa Rica’s Calle Esperanza project, has helped more than 450 migrants seeking to cross the northern border of Costa Rica to reach Nicaragua and, from there, continue to the United States. The assistance provided to the migrants has been in the form of transportation, food and listening.
The financial support for transportation was mainly directed to migrant families located in the Obras del Espíritu Santo shelter. In the second stage, interested migrants were sought on the streets of San José, and were met at the bus terminals at the border. Volunteers oversaw buying the ticket, giving them a cold meal and snacks for the journey, and accompanying them to the departure point of the bus, where they were seen off with prayers and hugs.
In addition, for almost a month, 2,666 plates of hot food have been distributed to the migrant population living in the streets of San José. They have also been given 50 coats and the same amount of travel bags, 40 sandals, basic medicines, milk and personal hygiene items.
Mexico: Casa del Migrante
In Mexico, the Casa del Migrante was born in 2019, in the northern state of Chihuahua, promoted by the archdiocese of the place. It is currently run by the Augustinian Recollect family in the old rooms of the Augustinian parish of Christ the Eternal High Priest. The migrants are welcomed here with warm corn tortillas and Jamaica water, a typical Mexican drink. Families as well as unaccompanied minors and single people who want to fulfill the “American dream” arrive there. Volunteers offer them a shower, food, and comfort, while Father Germán provides spiritual assistance.
This center feeds at least 150 people every day. It also has 80 beds for overnight stays, a closet in case they need shoes or clothing, and a medical dispensary to treat injuries and symptoms of the long journey, such as dehydration, exhaustion, or high fever. Some of the immigrants decide to spend some time there, working on farms, in order to obtain the necessary economic resources to start a new life in the United States.
Argentina: Entrepreneurs with impact
For its part, ARCORES Argentina runs the Centro Parroquial de Ayuda al Inmigrante in Buenos Aires, where it serves more than 60 migrant families. They can also apply for “honor loans” for a specific purpose, which they can repay in 10 interest-free installments. Meanwhile, the “Entrepreneurs with Impact” program trains migrants to develop their businesses.
To participate, they must present a project explaining its purpose, potential clients and needs to start or continue it, if the project is already underway. With this information, an ARCORES team selects the twenty best projects, considering several aspects of the project, including its economic feasibility. The selected entrepreneurs participate in a face-to-face training course, where each one is helped to develop his or her business model. The course concludes with a presentation of the final project by each participant.
At the end of the course, the five best projects are selected and financially supported. In addition, they are offered free financing so that they can make the investment they need. The remaining projects receive free advice for their business during the course and the following six months.
Colombia: Assistance for Venezuelan migrants
ARCORES Colombia and the Uniagustiniana of Bogota collaborate in a project of integral attention to Venezuelan migrants, coordinated by the Missionaries of St. Charles or Scalabrinians and with external financing from the Global Solidarity Fund. The migrants receive workshops in handicrafts, photography, baking, hairdressing, and cell phone repair, among other courses. The volunteers of this project carry out leisure and free time activities with children and participate in the first reception of the migrants in a temporary home.
Finally, ARCORES Spain, through REDES (Red de Entidades para el Desarrollo Solidario), supports the “Esenciales” campaign, which has launched an ILP (Popular Legislative Initiative) to achieve an extraordinary regularization of migrants in this country. The ILP is a legal mechanism that originates from the people and not from politicians. If half a million signatures are gathered, the Congress of Deputies can be forced to debate the initiative, and we will be closer to achieving the regularization of 500,000 migrants who are currently in legal limbo. The aim is to achieve a social debate that is resolved in favor of the regularization of foreigners, while at the same time achieving sufficient parliamentary support for the legislative initiative to be approved in Congress. We also seek a change in society’s perception of migrants, so that they are considered people with full rights and are not made vulnerable.