It’s [the migration of unaccompanied children] not just about poverty. It’s a lack of opportunities, direct income and safety.
Kansas City, KS (PRWEB) July 11, 2014
Kansas may seem far away from the current crisis on the nation's border, or even farther still from the problems in Central America that are creating a dangerous migration of children.
But Unbound, an international humanitarian organization based in Kansas City, Kan., is working with families in Central America and other parts of the world to help children stay in their own communities.
“It’s [the migration of unaccompanied children] not just about poverty,” said a staff member from Central America whose name is not public because of safety concerns. “It’s a lack of opportunities, direct income and safety.”
He says a history of civil wars and crushing poverty has led to migration to the U.S. border for decades. But he says “gangsters,” many of whom as teenagers were deported back to their home countries from the United States, have created a new and “terrible social condition.”
“Blackmail, extortion, kidnappings and killing are just a part of the everyday life of the Central American people,” he explained. “The only option they have is to make it to the states and run away for their lives.”
Unbound, the largest nonprofit organization in the state of Kansas, has been working through its sponsorship program in Latin America and other regions of the world for past 32 years. Director of Global Strategy Paul Pearce said staff, both in Kansas and in the field, are watching closely as the crisis unfolds.
“We hold these children who made this perilous journey in our thoughts and prayers,” Pearce said. “Our staff in-country know our families well,” Pearce added. “To our knowledge, our program has seen fewer than five out of 150,000 sponsored children [in Central America] leave the program due to migration.”
“When you as a parent have the ability to provide what your child needs, you’re most likely to start finding options locally,” according to the Unbound staff member in Central America. “They have access to food, education, clothing, health care.”
Pearce said parent groups of mothers and fathers whose children are sponsored through Unbound give emotional support to each other and help stabilize neighborhoods. “Our families join each other to form a social safety net where they support each other and create a safer, more secure local community,” he said.
Even with support, Unbound staff say life will not be easy for the average family in Central America. But hope for a better life can lie within their home country.
“They know they will have it hard, but they can stay in their community with their children.”
Unbound is the largest nonprofit in Kansas with more than $120 million in annual revenue. We work directly with children, families and the elderly in 21 developing countries as they confront the challenges of poverty and work toward a better life.
Unbound distributes direct aid as quickly and efficiently as possible to people who need it. More than 93 percent of all the money Unbound spends goes to program support.