Friendship blossoms amid migration challenges in Mexico

Tuesday, December 19, 2023


Daniel and Pablo* forged an enduring friendship when they met at the SOS Children’s Villages migrant centre in Comitán, Mexico. Their story exemplifies the resilience and hope that can blossom even when experiencing the most challenging situations.


Pablo, 15, from Ecuador, lived with his grandmother but spent most of his time on the streets. He left to escape criminal groups that had proliferated from the Southern Cone. 


Daniel, 19, from Honduras, faced a similar plight, leaving behind his studies to work and evade the menacing grasp of local gangs that sought to recruit him. 


Daniel and Pablo are among the 2.4 million migrants who reached the United States southwestern border in 2023. Of those, around 138,000 were unaccompanied children or minors. 


In Mexico, the SOS Children's Village in Comitán is a crucial juncture for migrants from Central and South America, as the location is one of the most important border crossings. 


"We are situated on the border, the initial boundary between Guatemala and Chiapas. We mark the beginning of the transit, which facilitates our interaction with participants and enables communication with their biological families," says Teresa Gómez, SOS Children’s Villages Program Director.


Drivers of migration 


Migration from Central and South America is driven by economic struggles, the pursuit of better opportunities, climate change, and flight from violence. Most people are leaving their home countries for opportunities in the United States. 


Pablo’s decision to embark on a perilous journey to Mexico was fueled by his desire for a better future with his father in the United States and his determination to escape the violence that plagues his homeland. 


In Daniel's case, his mother, knowing the imminent danger her son faced, made the heart-wrenching decision to part with him, sacrificing their life together to protect him from the threats of gang violence.  


The journey to a safer haven was not without obstacles. Mexican authorities detained Pablo due to his young age, leading him to SOS Children's Villages, where he found shelter, sustenance and crucial psychological and legal support for the arduous journey ahead.


The SOS Children’s Village in Comitán offers specialized support through psychologists, lawyers, and other professionals. A holistic approach ensures that the hundreds of children and young people seeking a brighter future receive the necessary assistance and protection.


Child rights and family reunification 


Olga Carolina, a social worker in Comitán, emphasizes the importance for these young migrants to recognize their rights. 


"We enforce all those rights that are violated; and I think that an organization like SOS Children’s Villages, interested in young people and children who pass through as migrants, is sometimes the first thing to make them aware of their rights."


Family reunification is one of the main objectives of the program and, in this process, allies play a crucial role. According to Teresa Gómez, “Through institutional alliances, we have facilitated the reunification process for children, adolescents, and youth with the governing agency.” 


Despite their diverse backgrounds, Daniel and Pablo share a common thread - recognizing their rights and hope for a better future.


Daniel and Pablo have since reunited with their fathers in the United States, underscoring the potential for positive outcomes when resilience, friendship, and emotional support converge in the face of daunting challenges. 


*Name changed to protect privacy.  



Canadians wishing to help vulnerable children are encouraged to sponsor a child, sponsor an SOS Village or make a one-time donation. Your support will change the lives of orphaned, abandoned and other vulnerable children. Please help today.