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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.
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.
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).
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:
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.
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.