A promise to the children of Honduras on Migrants Day
Dear children of Honduras,
Today is the United Nations’ International Migrants Day. For many people, it will be a declaration of intent, a passing moment with good intentions and maybe a few kind words, about strangers far away travelling in the hope of a better life. I know that for you, it symbolizes far more: the uncertainty of your entire future, weighing on your everyday lives, on your childhoods and teenage years.
For many girls and boys in Honduras, growing up means daily challenges that no child should ever face. It means living in poverty, with few opportunities and the constant threat of gangs in your neighborhood. It means the risk of seeing someone from your family, sometimes even a friend of your age, wounded or killed at any moment by random shooting. For many young girls, it often means becoming teenage mothers and not finishing school – something that will affect your entire lives.
Against the certainty of a bleak present and future in Honduras, stands the dream of running away. Migrating, leaving friends and families behind, hoping to reach faraway places like the United States. Not knowing how to get there or even if you will get there, but all in the uncertain hope of – maybe – getting a better future.
In 2019, the number of migrants worldwide reached 272 million people, including an estimated 38 million children. While some migrants are deliberately choosing to look for economic opportunities, other migrate out of necessity, to escape violence (like in Honduras), wars, persecutions or human rights violations. This means choosing a life of urgency, not knowing who to trust, hoping against the odds to be welcomed at their destination. This is a choice that no child or teenager should have to make about their future – not if we can help it. You should be free to exercise your right to live a life free from harm and fear.
I recently had the privilege of meeting some of you as part of Save the Children’s Leadership Academy in Tegucigalpa and San Pedro Sula, getting to know more about your hopes, dreams and aspirations for the future. Through this program, I see how you are preventing unaccompanied forced migration in your communities by learning more about your rights, setting up protection mechanisms for yourselves and your classmates, and gaining skills to create your own economic opportunities. I felt the pain in your hearts but at the same time saw the strength and determination you are holding on to.
You are extremely kind, bright and passionate young leaders. I see many of you finding your own voices, understanding what it means to be gender equal and not being afraid to stand up and speak out on injustice and violence. This is how the world changes, through your determination and your example.
Millions of children around the world are just like you, full of hope and possibilities. They can create their own future if only given the chance to fulfill their rights and their potential as you are doing.
Through my work with Save the Children and other global organizations over the past decade, I have met many inspiring children all with unique stories. I feel nothing less than privileged to have now met you, and seen your passion for standing up for your rights and demanding a better future.
Today is the right day to make this promise: your strength and your courage will not be forgotten. I, alongside my colleagues at Save the Children, will show the world how you are changing it for the better. Together, we will continue to stand up for your rights and those of all migrant children.
Please continue inspiring us all,
Head of Communications