Bertha Alicia Loera works in a migrants shelter in Mexico. She helps in the kitchen and receives the people who arrive every day.
“I tell them, ‘Welcome, you can rest and eat here’. I chat with them to make them feel at home”.
Bertha enjoys what she does and says she would not change it for the world, despite the problems she faces working in a shelter for transmigrants.
“I have been threatened on the street by people smugglers who tell me they will do this and that to me. I have been offered other jobs but I would never take them. The reason I am here is to give people a meal and a glass of water; to serve someone coming from far away”.
Apparently, helping others makes all this risk-taking worthwhile.
Every year, 400,000 undocumented people from Central America transit through Mexico in order to get to the USA. There are different routes but the freight-train route, known as “la Bestia”, is the most dangerous route in the continent. There is a network of 65 houses for migrants that provide help and protection to this vulnerable group, including shelter, food, health and psychosocial services, and legal advice.
The Oxfam project Bertha works for supports human rights advocates in three important stops in the State of Guanajuato, namely Irapuato, Salamanca and Celaya. This “Support and protection to defenders of migrants in very risky situations in Guanajuato” programme—supported by the European Union—aims for human rights advocates to have more technical and organisational skills to better serve transmigrants in a safer context for both advocates and transmigrants in shelters.
Photo: Consuelo Pagaza/Oxfam
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