In the neighborhoods across El Salvador, we open doors for repatriated Central American youth. Widespread gang violence, safety concerns, and crippling poverty push these youth to travel to the U.S., only to return to greater threats following repatriation. Whether they remain exposed to the threats in their home countries, risk the journey to the United States, or are forced to return to the stigma within their communities as a failure, they demonstrate exceptional resilience in the face of extremely challenging circumstances.
In response to this humanitarian crisis, USCRI launched its Livelihoods Program in El Salvador in collaboration with the Salvadorian government. The Livelihoods Program provides job training, microenterprise development, case management, and a small stipend to returning young Salvadorans eager to escape poverty and find work. From the moment they return to El Salvador, USCRI is involved, often meeting these young people at the airport or bus station and offering them the option to enroll in the Livelihoods Program then and there.
Since 2016, 394 young adults have participated in the program, training for positions as bank tellers, auto mechanics, welders, HVAC technicians, bartenders, waiters, chefs, farmers, and more.
USCRI Central America galvanized public, private and civic sector partners to create an effective responsive structure in El Salvador. The network consists of federal and local government agencies, business leaders, faith-based organization, nonprofit organization and community coalitions, including a formal partnership with the Salvadoran Office of the General Prosecutor. We work closely with INSAFORP who provides professional training and certification. In February 2018, the office received a sub-grant award through Covenant House International from the Department of State Office to Monitor & Combat Trafficking in Persons. Through the project, USCRI Central America provides assistance to youth as well as other underserved groups such as LGBTQI, indigenous, and male survivors of human trafficking. We work across the region providing education, prevention from falling into the hands of traffickers, as well as specialized services to trafficked youth and those at high risk of being trafficked.
USCRI Central America is also a member of CONMIGRANTES, a Salvadoran coalition of civil society and government agencies that promotes the participation of migrants in society and helps to protect their rights throughout the region.