Heifer Mexico is providing greatly needed nutrition to the more than 500 children who are a part of the Central American migrant caravan.
As the caravan neared in Mexico City, Heifer Mexico was informed that many children in the group were sick and needed medical attention, and that most were suffering from a lack of nutrient-rich fruits and vegetables during the difficult journey. In accordance with our mission to end hunger and poverty, the Heifer Mexico team decided to give support.
“It’s really sad to see whole families with children, some parents carrying babies in their arms or on their backs, looking for a place where they can find decent work and a quality of life very different from what they see in their countries,” said Didier Espinosa of Heifer Mexico. “Most of the migrants are from Honduras or El Salvador and are fleeing the poverty and violence of their country.”
Humanitarian aid organization Hermanos en el Camino spearheaded the effort to provide nutritional and medical support to the caravan, with the support of Heifer Mexico and other nonprofit organizations. Hermanos en el Camino was founded by Father Alejandro Solalinde Guerra, who is known for his work in human rights in Mexico.
As the caravan arrived in Mexico City on November 4, temporary shelter was provided in the Magdalena Mixhuca Sports Complex. Heifer Mexico distributed fruits and bars of nutrient-rich amaranth grain, both of which were produced by Heifer project participants, as well as bottles of water, boxes of milk, shoes and medicine.
Heifer Mexico is also providing similar support for migrant families in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec in Oaxaca. Plans are also in place to provide professional medical care for children that need it.
The thousands of people leaving Central America for the United States aren’t abandoning their homes because they want to. Violence and poverty combine to leave no other option, says Ixchel Palencia, Americas program manager.
On October 13, a group of 2,000 people left San Pedro Sula, Honduras, headed north toward the United States. As the caravan traveled, more Hondurans as well as some Guatemalans, Nicaraguans, Salvadorians and Mexicans joined.
In Honduras, Heifer is working with small-scale farmers and entrepreneurs to create opportunities so people don’t have to make the harrowing decision to uproot their families.
Small and medium businesses represent a quarter of the Honduran GDP and comprise 60 percent of employment opportunities. In places like Olancho, one of the departments with the highest rate of migration, Heifer Honduras is emphasizing local development.
“Through the support of these family businesses, that’s a way also that the families can have a better income and no need to migrate,” Palencia said.