Covenant House In Latin America: At A Glance
Casa Alianza Nicaragua
Despite widespread upheaval and government violence in Nicaragua, Casa Alianza Nicaragua (CAN) is providing ongoing care for children and youth overcoming homelessness, helping them envision and work toward an independent future. More youth have come to the site since the violence began, having been harassed on the streets by police and paramilitaries. Some staff members have been unable to get to work due to the violence and roadblocks that make their travel unsafe. Many of those who can make it in are working, literally, around the clock, in 24-hour shifts, in order to come and go at the safest times. They are stockpiling food, water, and medicines at the site, anticipating possibly months of further unrest. Several staff members have reported that family members have been injured, detained, killed, or disappeared.
Nicaragua continues to be one of the poorest countries in Central America, however it also was considered one of the most peaceful. On April 19, however, the government of President Daniel Ortega responded to peaceful protests with violence, and then intensified the violence as protests grew and spread. Attempts to end the violence by dialogue have been fruitless so far. Pope Francis, the United Nations, Amnesty International, Covenant House, and other human rights groups, have condemned the government crackdown. Read more here.
La Alianza Guatemala
On June 3, the Fuego Volcano, one of the most active in Central America, erupted. Located about 25 miles from the volcano, La Alianza Guatemala and the young girls who call it home were unharmed. National Director Carolina Escobar and her staff visited shelters for the survivors, brought medical supplies to the regional health center, and provided training in trauma-informed care for shelter coordinators and first responders. The young residents of La Alianza sent messages of love and solidarity to affected children.
More than 1.7 million people were impacted by the disaster, including 113 killed and 197 still missing. Adding to survivors’ trauma, a 5.6 magnitude earthquake shook the same region two weeks after the eruption. This time, no injuries or deaths were reported. Through it all, La Alianza remained a beacon of hope for the children in its care and for the survivors of the Fuego Volcano eruption.
Casa Alianza Honduras
Many of the young migrants making the perilous journey to the U.S. southern border from Central America are fleeing violence in Honduras. Casa Alianza Honduras is protecting hundreds of children, many of whom, as Covenant House President Kevin Ryan wrote, are forced into hiding by the “rampant, ISIS-like violence of gangs, who randomly track them down to recruit or kill them. And sadly, we know and have buried children who tried to make it to the relative safety of the United States or Mexico, only to be deported back to Honduras and later killed by gangs.”
To further complicate matters, the U.S. government introduced a policy that wrenched minors, including infants and toddlers, from their parents’ arms at the border; some 2,500 children were taken and sent hundreds of miles away. Although the policy was rescinded under pressure, the government has not yet reunited all of the children with their parents in detention. Casa Alianza is collaborating with the U.N. Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and the International Organization for Migration to repatriate in the safest possible places those youth who are deported back to Honduras.
Casa Alianza Mexico
Casa Alianza Mexico welcomed the return of its girls soccer team from Russia, where the girls competed in the third Street Child World Cup. The tournament brought together more than 200 girls and boys impacted by homelessness in 24 countries around the world, from Mexico to Mauritius, Egypt to Belarus. While the games were the main event—with 12 girls teams and 12 boys teams—the youth, ages 10 and up, also participated in a general assembly and a festival of arts, where they expressed themselves creatively and advocated for the rights of all children.
Back home in Mexico City, the girls, along with all the children and youth residing with Casa Alianza Mexico, eagerly anticipate the completion of construction of their new home. The new site is expected to be done by the end of the year. When it is, it will allow Casa Alianza to bring healing and hope to an additional 90 children.
Calls to Action Options:
Learn more about our work in Latin America
Support our Nicaragua Emergency Appeal: https://covenanthouse.donordrive.com/campaign/NicaraguaEmergency
Join a Service Trip to Latin America: https://www.covenanthouse.org/casa-alianza-service-trips