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24 January 2024 - News

Save the Children and HIAS join efforts to provide children with access to educational services along the Central American migration route.

Panama, January 24, 2024. In the framework of International Education Day, Save the Children and HIAS, in partnership with the Regional Education Group for Latin America and the Caribbean (GRE-LAC), launch the second phase of the campaign "Education without Limits: I learn here or there" which aims to inform and raise awareness about the importance of the right to education and how to access educational services for refugee and migrant children and adolescents on the migration route through Central America.

Currently, 4.1 million migrant children and adolescents in Central America and Mexico need humanitarian assistance to survive, according to UNICEF.

Save the Children warns that refugee and migrant children and adolescents are at risk of not being able to continue their studies due to their mobility.

This is the case of more than 120,000 children and adolescents who have crossed the Darien Gap. This dense rainforest located between Panama and Colombia has become one of the most dangerous irregular migration routes. In 2023, the number of people moving through this jungle increased by 225% compared to 2022, exceeding 500,000 people.

When crossing borders, refugee and migrant children and adolescents face the challenge of continuing their studies due to the lack of articulated services and information between one country and another. Interrupting their learning generates consequences in their development, including the loss of acquired knowledge, learning gaps, and educational backwardness according to age, as well as their integration into the countries that receive them.

Girls represent around 20% of the flow of female human mobility in the region, facing additional barriers to access education due to causes related to structural gender differences, according to Plan International's report Adolescent Women in Crisis: life in Contexts of mobility in the Central America and Mexico region.

Victoria Ward, Save the Children's Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean said:

"It is our priority to address the urgent needs of migrant children and adolescents and facilitate their access to education during their journey through Central America and Mexico. Save the Children implements comprehensive programs to address the root causes and impacts of migration, advocating for the rights of migrant children who are exposed to multiple risks as they depart on their journey and put their education on hold.”

Cristina Garcia, HIAS Senior Vice President for Latin America and the Caribbean noted:

"1 out of every 4 people who crossed the Darien in 2023, were children or adolescents. In their condition of displacement, they constantly face situations that put their protection and access to basic rights such as education and health at risk. HIAS field staff provides care throughout the displacement cycle, with special emphasis on borders, transit routes, and host communities, offering services that close the gaps that affect the welfare and development of children and their families.”

The “Education Without Limits Campaign: I learn here or there” is an initiative of the Regional Education Group for Latin America and the Caribbean (GRE-LAC) within the framework of the Regional component of the Multi-Year Resilience Program (MYRP) with funding from Education Cannot Wait (ECW) and the Government of Canada from the leadership of Save the Children, to make visible the educational crisis experienced by children and adolescents in a situation of mobility, in addition to promoting their access to and permanence in educational services, and to publicize the positive impact on a host community of children and adolescents in a situation of human mobility having access to this right.

In this second phase of the Campaign "Education without Limits: I learn here or there", Save the Children and HIAS, with financial support from the European Union, join efforts under a concept of articulation to the actions already advanced by GRE-LAC, now through the Educational Route initiative in which Save the Children and HIAS seek to strengthen cross-border humanitarian coordination with national partner organizations to carry out advocacy and awareness actions to contribute to meeting the educational needs of children, adolescents, and families in their journey through Central America.

Educational Route is implemented in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras, and in partnership with HIAS in Costa Rica and Panama.