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ECUADOR: Migrant youth receive assistance across the region

Salesian Social America Network facilitates assistance programs for migrant youth and families, benefiting 3,310 migrants every day


(MissionNewswire) Salesian Social America Network, a network of Salesian centers and services for children, adolescents and young people at risk of social exclusion in the Americas, is working in 18 Salesian provinces and 22 countries in the region. With operational headquarters in Quito, Ecuador, it responds with assistance programs for migrant youth and families, benefiting 3,310 migrants every day.

Violence, insecurity, poverty and family reunification are the main drivers of migration in the Americas. According to the World Migration Data Portal, 3.6 percent of the total world population, or 280.6 million people, make up the international migrant population. Salesian missionaries are working one-on-one with migrant youth and families who often face even greater difficulties once they arrive in their destination countries. Many have no idea when, or if, they will be able to return home.

“I’m afraid that they will take us away from here because we are undocumented. I’m afraid that the situation in my country will not be solved, that we will not be able to return to our families,” said Brangely, a Venezuelan migrant living in Colombia. She, like hundreds of thousands of other migrants, left her native country in search of better opportunities, putting her life and that of her family at risk.

Salesian missionaries care for and provide educational services to young migrants in countries around the globe. Unaccompanied migrant youth often face rejection, homelessness, exploitation and delinquency as they make their journey to find a new way of life. They are also at risk of human trafficking and exploitation.

“Salesian programs help young migrants adapt to their new environment through language and skills training and workforce development programs,” said Father Gus Baek, director of Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. “A lack of employment is one of the root causes of migration in countries that see high rates of youth migrating to seek a better life elsewhere. In addition to helping young migrants, Salesian missionaries are working to create new educational and employment opportunities in countries youth leave as an incentive for them to remain at home.”

The Salesian Social America Network has several projects that are helping youth just like Brangely. In Guadalajara, Mexico, between 800 and 1,000 people are assisted daily with food, medical care, shelter and legal assistance. In Bogota, Colombia, there are comprehensive assistance programs helping more than 700 members of migrant families. In Peru, there is a shelter and a training program for 60 young Venezuelans. In Ecuador, canteens were opened every day during the pandemic to serve 80 Venezuelan families living on the street. In addition, work is being done to restore the violated rights of 30 immigrant families in Chile.



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ANS – Ecuador – “Towards an ever greater ‘we'”: Salesian America Social Network and migrations in America

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