Protecting migrants in Central America: Ana Maria explains why TSF's assistance is important

Publication date: Dec 13, 2021

Having access to updated information remains a vital need for any migrant, observes the TSF team involved in the mission for the last 4 years. The list of reasons why people decide to migrate is long, but tend to be predominant: threats, violence, economic opportunities, insecurity. "From an early age, one wonders... what am I doing here? If you are well, you don´t migrate. But many of us don’t have a choice" shares Ana Maria (her name has been changed to protect her identity), a Honduran migrant travelling with her 12 years old daughter. Ana Maria left Honduras in February 2021, escaping violence in her country. Besides that, as if that was not enough, she says that there are no job opportunities, no possibility of progress. Ana Maria’s is one story among millions, but it perfectly reflects why TSF is committed to facilitate access to information for these forcibly displaced populations and the importance of expanding the mission to other Latin American countries.

Due to limited financial means and the dangers of the migratory routes, people in mobility contexts have very limited access to information and communication means. They are left without information and thus become even more vulnerable during their journey. Moreover, migrants often have to deal with very uncertain scenarios. When they arrive in a transit or destination country, they lack information or rely on existing data from their country of origin. “I did not know that migrants were so protected here” shares Ana Maria. The information displayed on the screens is something very new for her, she had never seen so much support. "There are people who come with fear and with zero information. It is very useful”. Without TSF’s support, many of them would probably not know or have very limited information about the most basic and important of things: their rights. Ana Maria confirms it: “I didn’t know that we, as migrants, had all these rights”.

When asked what information she considers most important, she says that for her it’s all important: “I have seized all the information displayed on the screen, for example the fact that there is help from doctors, psychological help. There is also legal help.” The content displayed also helped her make informed decisions and consider all the options she has. "All this information encouraged me to think calmly, the phone numbers of the institutions allowed me to seek for help legally from the proper services” expresses Ana Maria with a hope-filled voice.

TSF’s information diffusion mission is now expanding to Guatemala and Colombia. Through coordination work with the Catholic Relief Services, the system has already been implemented in three migrant centres in Guatemala. Likewise, through a collaboration with the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), it will also be installed in five centres in Colombia. Expanding this mission means being able to strengthen the protection and increase the security of a larger number of migrants, across Mexico, Guatemala and Colombia. Like Ana Maria and her daughter, thanks to the support of TSF in collaboration with its partners, these people who were forced to abandon everything and seek refuge, find a sense of hope and serenity.

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