World Vision to aid unaccompanied children fleeing violence

As the crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border intensifies, World Vision is providing essential supplies through partner organizations to help unaccompanied minors in transition centers across the United States.

By Lauren Fisher, World Vision U.S.
Updated July 22, 2014 at 08:30am PDT

More than 52,000 unaccompanied minors — most from Central America — have entered the United States since last October seeking refuge from violence and oppressive poverty in their nations.

That’s twice the number from the previous 12 months.

A desperate escape from violence

Heedless to the dangers involved, these unaccompanied children crossed vast distances with little protection or resources, arriving in the United States with the clothes on their backs and little else.

Nearly 60 percent of young people cite gang warfare and escalating violence in their homelands as the primary reasons for their exodus, according to a U.N. study (pdf).

Providing necessities for unaccompanied children

The plight of children at the border is causing an escalating humanitarian crisis.

As this emergency intensifies, World Vision is poised to provide essential supplies through partner organizations to help unaccompanied children being sheltered in locations across the United States.

World Vision is working with the churches and community partners at 13 locations throughout the country, including California, Texas, Florida, and New York, to supply unaccompanied children with items such as:

  • Clothing
  • Shoes
  • School supplies
  • Activity kits
  • Backpacks

We are also furnishing cleaning supplies, paper products, and other materials to equip the local centers that are hosting children.

Dozens of volunteers from the Puget Sound area in Washington state recently assembled more than 200 Promise Packs  — backpacks filled with supplies including a blanket, toothbrush, shampoo, school supplies, activity books, and other materials.

Once assembled, the packs are shipped to World Vision’s warehouse in North Texas and then provided to children affected by the growing humanitarian crisis along the U.S. border. More packs will be assembled by groups across the U.S. in the coming months.

Additionally, World Vision is providing child protection training to staff from partner organizations who are working directly with children.

Addressing the root causes

In Central America, World Vision has worked in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras for decades to address the crisis’ root causes like poverty and the threat of exploitation that cause children to flee.

In El Salvador, programs like urban and rural children’s clubs give kids positive role models and a place to escape the violence. Throughout Central America, projects address the lack of economic opportunities — another factor that causes children to flee — by providing savings groups, vocational training, and other livelihood assistance.

Groups of parents and community leaders are trained to spot child protection issues and advocate for reforms to benefit children on a local and national level.

Learn more

How you can help

  • Pray for unaccompanied children. During the arduous journey north, they are separated from their parents, far from home, and vulnerable to violence, abuse, and other dangers. Use our prayer points to help guide your prayers.
  • Make a one-time donation to help care for unaccompanied children in shelters across the United States. Your gift will multiply 8 times in impact to help provide interventions like clothing, shoes, hygiene kits, school supplies, activity kits, and other essentials, as well as cleaning supplies, paper products, and other materials to equip local centers that are hosting children.
  • Build Promise Packs. Caring groups of all sizes can purchase and assemble Promise Packs for children affected by this humanitarian crisis. Packs are filled with a blanket, a toothbrush, shampoo, school supplies, activity books, and an encouraging note for the child.
  • Create your own fundraising page and share it with your network of friends and family to help children who are being affected by this crisis.
  • Advocate. The border crisis has prompted an attack on current U.S. anti-trafficking laws. Join us in urging the President and Senate to protect our nation's anti-trafficking laws.

Highlights

  • Tens of thousands of unaccompanied Central American children are fleeing their homes and heading to the U.S. border.
  • Many are seeking to escape from violence and abuse.
  • The plight of children at the border is causing an escalating humanitarian crisis.
  • World Vision is poised to provide essential supplies through partner organizations to help unaccompanied children being sheltered in locations across the United States.
  • World Vision is also providing child protection training to staff from partner organizations who are working directly with children.

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