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MEXICO: Collaboration aids migrants and refugees

Salesian Tijuana Project

Multiservice Center internationally recognized for unique service model


(MissionNewswire) The Salesian Tijuana Project in Mexico has been committed to the most vulnerable people, especially migrants and refugees, since 1987. On Jan. 26, UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees), the Mexican Refugee Aid Commission and the Salesian Tijuana Project reaffirmed their commitment to working together on behalf of refugees and migrants in Tijuana.

Three years ago the Multiservice Center was created to house the Mexican government offices processing visas for refugees in Mexico, a UNHCR counseling office, and several civil associations offering legal advice, childcare, free medical consultations. Added this year is the National Employment System desk where any migrant, refugee or member of the community can apply for formal employment. The three organizations have decided to expand the range of services offered in the coming years.

This joint work model was presented at the Global Refugee Forum, held in Geneva in December 2023. The Multiservice Center was internationally recognized for its unique service model.

Father Agustín Novoa Leyva, director of the Salesian Tijuana Project, said, “The sum of efforts in this community space is unprecedented in Mexico. The center is a strong and decisive response of solidarity and support for all refugees, displaced persons and those in need of protection.”

This alliance began in 2021 with the aim of providing better care to those seeking refuge in Tijuana. The three key agents have gradually gained endorsements from other government organizations, international agencies and civil society organizations. From 2021 to 2023, 15 organizations collaborated to assist 22,614 people.

“It is part of the Salesian essence to be able to offer welcoming spaces to protect, promote and integrate the migrant community that arrives in our centers,” explained Fr. Leyva. “In this way, we want to join the call of the Salesian Congregation to take care of vulnerable children and adolescents, working in networks and adapting our structures for this purpose.”

He added, “It is in our DNA to meet people and provide them with safe spaces so that they can integrate into our society and progress. We defend and promote the rights of all people, especially the most vulnerable, such as those who are forced to leave their place of origin, fleeing with the knowledge that they will never be able to return because their lives are in danger.”

The goal of the Salesian Tijuana Project is to create an extensive educational network in areas where poor youth are at risk of social exclusion. The project took shape through Salesian oratories and educational centers where children grow up learning to share faith, culture, and sports within their communities.

A Salesian center acts as a hub for migrants who, besides much-needed material help, are also offered a familiar and welcoming environment. They can access haircuts, a change of clothes, a shower, and an opportunity to call and make contact with their families. The Salesian center also has a partnership with the Red Cross and local volunteer doctors who offer psychological and medical help.



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ANS – Mexico – The Salesian Project Tijuana consolidates networking for refugees and migrants

Salesian Missions – Mexico

UNICEF – Mexico