Young refugees know what it means to run. Many have been running most of their lives – desperate to escape from situations of violence, abuse, exploitation, poverty, and misery.
Lonely, depressed, and scared, they keep running until they arrive in the U.S. – exhausted and hoping dearly that someone will offer them a chance to rest.
And now, thanks to your support during our ongoing Summer Children’s Campaign, more and more of these young children are going to experience the love, safety, and rest they yearn for! They will no longer be looking over their shoulders as they flee; they will be looking forward to hope and new life.
Maya was one of these young children, always on the run. She lived in a pit of physical and sexual abuse, suffering every day. When she fought back against her abuser, he threatened to kill her.
Terrified, Maya fled for her life, hopping buses and trains with hope of reaching America, where an aunt and brother were already living.
At the U.S. border, Maya was apprehended by immigration officials and taken to a federal shelter for minors. After some time she was granted status as a refugee minor, making her eligible for services and placement with a family. It soon became clear that her local relatives would be a threat to her safety, with a likelihood Maya would be forced into prostitution. So Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service worked with local partners to place her with a loving foster family.
Finally, after years of violence and fear, Maya is now safe. And safety is the first step on the long road to healing.
This summer we’re aiming to help over 1,500 refugee and migrant children like Maya. Each child is different, but thanks to your gifts we will be able to provide the assistance each young person needs! Whether it’s reuniting them with their family, finding a new home for them to live in, or advocating on their behalf, LIRS is committed to finding the right solution for each individual child.
In 2012, 13,625 children entered the United States as unaccompanied refugee minors. That was double the number from 2011. And as the number of at-risk boys and girls coming to the U.S. grows, we continue ensuring they receive the compassion and care they should have.
For many, like Maya, that means being settled in a loving home with a caring family. LIRS is one of only two groups in the U.S. providing specialized foster care services, so we can make sure children get the services and support necessary to adapt to a new country, a new culture … and a new home.
Thank you for your support of our Summer Children’s Campaign. Your gifts are making a real difference in the lives of young children like Maya, who for the first time knows what it is like to truly find safety and rest. Thanks to you, they no longer have to run.