Activities Carried Out During the Month of January and February at the Scalabrinian Shelter for Migrants in Tapachula, Mexico

Tapachula, Mexico, February 15, 2018 – After the Christmas holidays, on January 2, 2018, Belén shelter and Aldea Arcoíris migrant’s school in Tapachula, they reopened their doors and integration spaces to begin another year of support for migrants. Both Scalabribian Centers immediately began their new action plans for this 2018.

During the month of January, the following activities were carried out:

On January 27, a dynamic activity was carried out in conjunction with the UNHCR, which sought to see the general attention that Mexico gives to migrants, starting from the point of view of migrants directly. With various activities and games, they could express their feelings about what their experience has been with the different civil organizations and government agencies, and what we need to improve according to their vision. This dynamic activity consisted of separate groups that included children, young men, adolescent women, adult men, adult women and LGBTI members. Each group was given instructions, so they could explain how they have been treated by the UNHCR, COMAR, INM, shelters, how health services have been, and how they feel about security.

It was very interesting how everyone answered from their perspectives. For example, children who were in shelters, commented that it was comfortable and quiet with excellent treatment, the adult women felt the support of UNHCR was sometimes insufficient at INM, they had to wait a bit, but they felt that the service was agile. At COMAR they said, they took a long time to serve them. Adolescents in general spoke of good health, and in case of needing medical services; they felt it was relatively accessible. In the case of LGBTIs, they commented that because of their condition, they were very vulnerable to crime and not getting a decent job, that they did not feel very safe and that they were constantly victims of mistreatment and ridicule in the streets. It was a very interesting event, although we must take into account that it was a small group of 50 migrants and that we cannot take it into account as to generalize or to take actions based on these experiences, because it is a minority.

On February 9, UNHCR and the Ministry of Culture brought to Tapachula a play called “Small and Extraordinary Things.” Our sheltered migrants and students were invited.

This work is based on the experience of a girl who has to leave her country and she is in a place with other cultures, languages, and how hard it is for her to leave her home, her family, friends, and how she should adapt to her new life. It’s awareness to the general population of what some migrants have to go through.

Concluding with the report of the most relevant activities, on Wednesday, February 13, the visit of the National Institute of Migration (INM) pay a visit to collect the students’ paperwork and start making the immigration or visa cards.