Many thanks to the readers who got in touch asking how they could help Fernando, Cristina and other migrant children in El Salvador, after my series last week.
Here are a few suggestions:
These folks run a network of shelters for migrants in Guatemala and Mexico, providing support to kids on the journey
And this organization is one of the few providing pro bono legal help to kids who make it to the US - getting help to navigate the legal system is critical
Salvadorans recommended a couple of charities in El Salvador to me:
Futbol Forever works with youth in gang-affected communities
CINDE supports young children in urban poverty
And finally, many readers asked about sponsoring a child to come to Canada legally rather than making the clandestine journey to the US. The Canadian refugee and immigration system is complicated and restrictive, as became abundantly and tragically clear this past week. And claims take a period of time that, even were claims to be successful, these kids at risk aren't able to wait. A few readers asked about sponsoring for temporary student visas, which might be more feasible and could offer a child such asFernando at least temporary respite, and if you're interested, I hope you can connect here and take the idea forward.
Thanks again for your interest. Here's a picture I took on my last morning of Fernando and his mom Irma, standing on their porch.