Tijuana bus serves as school for children of asylum seekers

imageWorld37 minutes ago (Dec 24, 2019 04:43PM ET)

Tijuana bus serves as school for children of asylum seekers

By Norma Galeana

TIJUANA, Mexico (Reuters) – On a cold rainy day in Tijuana, 30 children of families awaiting possible asylum in the United States piled into a bus for a morning of coloring, storytelling and some holiday cheer before Christmas eve.

The Yes We Can World Foundation mobile classroom provides bilingual education and emotional help as the children’s families wait for their asylum cases to be heard – a process that can last months.

“We focus on happiness. We focus on the rights of children and we focus on having a welcoming, safe space where they can just be children,” said Estefania Rebellon, founder and executive director of the Yes We Can World Foundation. Rebellon said she was overwhelmed when she saw migrant caravans arrive in Tijuana earlier this year and in 2018. Her own family had fled violence in Colombia.

“When I was 10 years old and our family had to migrate from Colombia to the United States and seek asylum… school was the only thing that helped me get through. I knew that school was… a survival mechanism for kids,” Rebellon said.The mobile classroom stationed outside the Pro Amore Dei (For the Love of God) shelter serves migrant children between the ages of 5 and 15. It is the first of its kind along the southern border.

FRIENDS AND TEACHERS “When they arrive here, they’re a bit afraid. They don’t know what to expect,” said Sandra Rodriguez, one of the three teachers who started working at the school when the program started in July.A 10-year old boy named Jose told Reuters his Christmas wish was, “I don’t want my friends here to change and I want my teachers to be just the way they are.

“I’m crying of happiness because I have my friends here and they’re much nicer than the friends I had before,” said Jose, whose last name was withheld at the request of the school.”I want to be a pilot and I also what to be a teacher to help children in need just like me,” said Kimberly, 8, with a big smile.The program is expanding to a second shelter in Tijuana aimed at serving 75 children. A third bus will serve children in Ciudad Juarez on the Mexican side of the Texas border early in 2020.A Reuters analysis of government data in October found that since January, the Trump administration has ordered 16,000 migrants under 18 to wait with their families in Mexico for U.S. immigration court hearings. Migrants, mostly from Guatemala, Honduras or El Salvador, were returned to Mexico under a policy known as the Migrant Protection Protocols.

Tijuana bus serves as school for children of asylum seekers

Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.