Want to help? Here are some ideas:
- WRITE: Sonia Nazario wrote an update on the violence that is pushing children out of Honduras. You can help by contacting your congressional representatives and urging them to support the proposed the $1 billion foreign aid request, and support the work of organizations that are making a difference like the Association for a More Just Society.
- DONATE OR VOLUNTEER: You can also donate or volunteer to help KIND, a nonprofit, whose board she sits on, that provides free lawyers to immigrant children facing deportation. KIND needs resources and attorneys to volunteer to represent children. (See below for ideas of other organizations).
- FOSTER A CHILD: There are cases where unaccompanied immigrant children who don’t have parents or legal guardians are put into the U.S. foster system. If you have room in your life for a personal commitment to an individual child, contact the agency responsible for foster care in your state and ask them about the possibility of helping a child migrant.
While in Honduras, Sonia Nazario saw several organizations that are doing great work to help improve conditions for these children.
Asociación Para Una Sociedad Mas Justa [Association For a More Just Society]
In Honduras, the Association works on several fronts to reduce government corruption and societal violence. They have tackled corrupt government hiring practices, reduced teacher strikes that crippled schools, made more transparent the purchase of medicines by government hospitals and institutions, and put private investigators to work to ensure that people who commit murders are brought to justice. You can donate here.
Casa Alianza – Honduras
Casa Alianza is a shelter for children who have been deported back to Honduras and need assistance. There are multiple ways to donate.
Compartir is a nonprofit that provides educational and enrichment opportunities otherwise not available to underprivileged children in Honduras. They work in four communities, including Nueva Suyapa where Enrique is from, and provide kindergarten education, tutoring, and shoes and other supplies so kids can keep studying. You can donate here.
World Vision International (Honduras)
World Vision Honduras is a Christian organization that allows people to sponsor individual children, or to donate funds so that they can help provide clean water and other necessities to needy children and their families. They are the largest nonprofit in Honduras and help tens of thousands of children.
You can donate funds or volunteer at two organizations featured in the book:
Shelter in Southern Mexico run by Olga Sanchez Martinez that helps immigrants hurt by the train, the Albergue Jesús el Buen Pastor del pobre y el Migrante.
Olga Sánchez Martínez runs a new refugee center in southern Mexico to help Central American women and children fleeing violence in their home countries. For nearly two decades she has also operated another shelter for migrants harmed by Mexico’s freight train, La Bestia, ministering to those left without arms or legs.
Olga came to this work through her own suffering. When she was 7, she had an intestinal disease that went untreated for lack of medicine. Off and on after that, she was gravely ill. At 18, she went temporarily blind and mute. For thirty eight days, she lay in a coma—66 pounds of skin and bones. A year later, well enough to work, a machine tore two fingertips off at a tortilla factory. She tried to slit her wrists. In 1990, a doctor told Olga, who had two small children, that she had cancer—months left to live. Olga was not very religious back then, but she went to church and got on both knees. She made a pact with God: heal me and I’ll help others.
The Bible had taught her to help the weak and hungry. Visiting a local public hospital in Chiapas, Mexico, Olga saw a 13 year old Salvadoran boy with no legs, torn off as he tried to board a freight train north. She took him into her humble home—and then dozens of others. In 1999, she opened a migrant shelter. She has treated thousands since. Two months ago, she opened a shelter for refugee women and children.
“Everything can be cured. Nothing is impossible,” Olga tells migrants. She buys blood and medicine for migrants so they won’t die. She gets them prosthesis and drives them back to their home countries. She helps them apply for asylum.
She is asking people in the US to donate used instruments that are still in good working order, or money, so she can give these children music therapy. If you have a musical instrument donation, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here’s a video recently recorded of Olga at Sonia’s home discussing why she wants to start an orchestra of children who are traumatized refugees and use music as therapy.
To make monetary donations to Olga:
The following website has a link with instructions on how to send money directly via paypal (to be used for prosthesis, medicine, blood units, surgeries and reconstructive surgical materials): www.alberguebuenpastor.org.mx
Or send donations directly by going to www.paypal.com and sending them to the following email: email@example.com
You can also contact Aracy Matus Sanchez, Olga’s daughter, at that website with questions but be advised that she only speaks Spanish.
Finally, you can send donations through your bank to:
Albergue Jesus El Buen Pastor del Pobre y el Migrante A.C.
BANAMEX, Sucursal/Branch 4196
Donations from abroad please add the following: Iban/Swift 002133419600935248
Address and phone number:
Albergue Jesús el Buen Pastor del pobre y el Migrante
Attn: Olga Sanchez Martinez
Entronque a Raymundo Enriquez
Phone: 011-52-962-153-2995 or 011-52-962-621-1771
Church in Northern Mexico that runs an immigrant shelter:
Parroquia de San Jose
Attn: Father Leonardo Lopez Guajardo
Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas
Codigo Postal 88000
Father Leo founded this shelter for migrants. At the end of this website there is information in English and a way to email or call the shelter if you want to help:
You can offer to volunteer your time, or send monetary or other donations by contacting the shelter at this email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Las Mujeres de La Patrona/The Ladies of La Patrona
From a small town in Veracruz, Mexico, the women of this pueblo go above and beyond their means in order to help feed migrants that cling to the tops of boxcars. Read about these wonderful women at Citizen Orange.
There are updates and also several ways to help, including donations of clothing, food, as well as money, listed on their blog:
Or email them at email@example.com to find out other ways in which you can help.
Other Ways to Help
Consume “fair trade” products, such as coffee and clothing, where the people who produce these goods in Latin America are guaranteed a living wage.
Honduras Threads helps women in Honduras sew beautiful embroidered pillow cases. The cases are sold on their website. Also, M’Lou Bancroft, who started the organization in Dallas and heads it for free, can help you set up a party to sell the cases, which are works of art. M’Lou started this effort after a 2002 church mission to Honduras, and she now helps employ 80 women in Tegucigalpa. You can see their products here.
M’Lou believes the solution to the migration issue is to help provide women in Honduras with work that allows them to feed and clothe their children so they don’t feel forced to leave for the United States. Sonia Nazario serves on Honduras Threads’ advisory board.
- Fair Trade Federation screens organizations according to rigorous fair trade guidelines.
- Equal Exchange sells fair trade coffee and other products, through churches and retail
- Dean’s Beans gives $3 of every pound you pay for their Honduran coffee to EcoLogic, non-profit that helps ensure clean water for communities in rural Honduras.
- SERRV has an online catalog of fair trade clothing and gifts
- Fair Indigo sells fair trade clothing and gifts
Readers have sent me many suggestions of groups that work to create jobs in Central America and Mexico so mothers can stay in their home countries–with their children.
- The Adelante Project in Honduras
- The Chiapas Project of the Grameen Foundation
- The Global Fund for Women
- Kiva, where you fund microcredit loans directly to an individual.
- Trickle Up
- Accion International
- Women’s World Banking
- Hispanics in Philanthropy
- Xela Aid
- Women’s Empowerment International
- Heifer International
- Global Partnerships
- Project Concern
- Cafe Feminino Project and Foundation
- Pachamama Cooperative, fair trade coffee
Other individuals and organizations have posted suggestions for how to help: