IOM, UNICEF Assist Migrant Children Affected by Pandemic

Posted: 
07/24/20
Themes: 
COVID-19

Managua – Alejandro, 16, and his brother, 14, traveled irregularly with their mother from Costa Rica to reunite with their father in Nicaragua.  

However, as their parents were detained, both adolescents are now protected and receiving specialized care at Casa Alianza, an NGO located in Managua. They are waiting for a safe and regular return and reunification with other family members in Costa Rica.  

Still, they needed the essential elements for a proper trip home. 

Through a joint project— #YoCamino (I March) campaign—the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) have provided specialized kits to more than 60 migrant children and adolescents like Alejandro and his brother, including many Nicaraguans. 

The assistance kits contain hygiene supplies for personal use, food, and recreational and informative materials on preventing COVID-19 and irregular migration. In some cases, specific items to cover a child's special needs also have been delivered. In this case, Alejandro and his brother received the clothing and suitcases they lacked for their return. 

"I feel very happy and extremely grateful for what they are doing for my brother and me,” said Alejandro after seeing his kit's content. “Now that we have the suitcases, we finally have a place to pack our clothes for our return to Costa Rica." 

The delivery of kits will continue in the coming weeks in Managua and Estelí, in Northern Nicaragua, as part of the project Institutional Strengthening for the protection of migrant children and prevention of irregular migration, IOM coordinates with civil society organizations as well as accredited consulates in the country. 

"Children and adolescents who are migrants or are in migratory contexts, tend to suffer disproportionally due to COVID-19, whether in their countries of origin, transit or destination," said Ana Cecilia Solís, a Childhood and Migration specialist at IOM. "With the closure of borders due to the pandemic, migrant groups, including children and adolescents, have been stranded in places where access to water and other resources is limited. Moreover, the sons and daughters of migrants are particularly affected by their parents' unemployment, limiting their access to basic needs."  

Carmen Delfina, a grandmother who takes care of two granddaughters whose parents are migrants in Panama, appreciated the help. "Due to lack of work caused by the pandemic, my sons have not sent us remittances. This has limited us in terms of food and medicine available for their children," she said. 

Added Paola Zepeda, IOM's Head of Office in Nicaragua: "IOM and UNICEF reiterate their commitment to providing support and protection to migrant children and adolescents going through migration processes, whether these are departures, transits or returns."    

"The COVID-19 pandemic is further worsening the crisis faced by many families who are forced to migrate both internally and externally. However, those who are most vulnerable are children and adolescents who migrate alone and irregularly, exposing themselves to all kinds of danger," said Ivan Yerovi H, UNICEF’s Representative in Nicaragua. 

For more information please contact Anabell Cruz at IOM Nicaragua, Email: amcruz@iom.int, Tel: +505 77640424. 

  • The assistance kits contain hygiene supplies for personal use, food products and educational games for preventing COVID-19 and irregular migration. Photo: Anabell Cruz / IOM. 
     

  • More than 60 migrant children or Nicaraguan children and adolescents in migratory contexts have received assistance. The project aims to reach a total of 200 children and adolescents. Photo: Anabell Cruz / IOM
     

  • More than 60 migrant children or Nicaraguan children and adolescents in migratory contexts have received assistance. The project aims to reach a total of 200 children and adolescents. Photo: Anabell Cruz / IOM