Stories of Change

With support from CWS, 14 migrant shelters in Mexico have purchased hygiene supplies and food, and put up informational posters about how to properly wash your hands. Photos courtesy REDODEM.

Protecting Migrants, Asylum Seekers and Others Across Mexico in the Face of Coronavirus

During this time of pandemic, people worldwide are doing what they can to prevent the spread of coronavirus. They are washing their hands thoroughly and often. They are practicing social distancing. They are staying home when they can and are avoiding large groups.

For Central American migrants in Mexico, however, these steps aren’t easy. That’s why CWS made a grant to a network of migrant shelters to help. Through this grant, 14 of the 23 shelters in a network called REDODEM were able to upgrade their facilities and services to protect the health of staff and clients alike.

The shelters, which are located across Mexico, serve several different types of people. Some are migrants who are in transit across Mexico. Others are families who will be seeing asylum. Some are refugees or deportees. A few are Mexicans who are facing homelessness or other situations of extreme vulnerability. All of them need help with their basic needs, especially during these challenging times.

Here are some of the ways that the shelters used the grant funds:

– Purchasing cleaning supplies, including soap, hand sanitizer, toilet paper, towels and chlorine. One shelter in Chiapas reported using the supplies to clean their main shelter space as well as the bedrooms that 18 families are using right now.

– Purchasing food. This is a basic service that most of the shelters provide, and most of the shelters who received the grant used at least some of the money to continue to provide food to clients. Shelters in Veracruz and Hidalgo used the grant to provide meals to migrants in transit across Mexico. One program in Mexico City made food packages to deliver to families who were applying for asylum, many of whom had faced layoffs during this crisis.

– Purchasing medical items. Shelters have stocked up on supplies to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, including masks, thermometers, alcohol and gloves.

– Sharing information with clients to protect their health. Some shelters have printed informational posters on topics like proper hand washing; disinfecting products and clothing; correctly using face masks; and the entry/exit procedures for the space to keep people safe.

– Transferring clients to hospitals when needed. One shelter in Hidalgo helped a migrant who was showing COVID-19 symptoms get to a health center. Because of this action, the migrant received medical attention and was diagnosed as not having the virus.

Everyone deserves to live a healthy life in safety. We’re proud to be able to support organizations across Mexico who are working hard every day to make sure that more people have that chance.