Last month, KIND staff in Tapachula, Mexico, celebrated World Refugee Day with children, youth, and families on the move and members of the local community, at Tapachula’s annual festival to promote the integration of migrants and the local community. Organized by Servicio Jesuita a Refugiados (Jesuit Refugee Service), more than 30 other international, national, and local organizations attended, including UNHCR and UNICEF.
A whole section of the festival was dedicated to children, including refugee kids. Over 200 kids from countries such as Chile, Venezuela, Brazil, Honduras, Costa Rica, and Cuba took part in the activities. KIND, along with Save the Children and UNHCR, led various activities, including those focused on psychosocial services, reading, and organized play. KIND and UNHCR also shared legal information for children through play-based activities.
In one of our psychosocial activities, KIND staff handed out foam and paper stars to children and explained that they represent “stars of well-being.” They invited the kids to color their paper stars and name things that have helped them be resilient on each of the five points of the star. Kids wrote statements, including “I know how to sing,” “I know how to dance,” and “I am strong.” Staff reminded the children that the stars are always with them as a source of stability, no matter where they are.
KIND staff then led children through a life-sized board game that they designed and often use at shelters to provide legal information to kids in a playful way. Based on Chutes and Ladders, the game educates children about their legal rights and legal procedures, taking kids through various experiences they may have as they navigate life as a migrant child in Tapachula.
A cultural area had tables representing different regions of the world including Central and South America, the Caribbean, Africa, Oceania, Asia, and Europe. Participants enjoyed food, sports, games, live music—including folkloric music, marimbas, and a children’s and youth choir from a local shelter, Hospitalidad y Solidaridad, which also participated in KIND-led workshops.
A theater performance by UNHCR ended the day’s festivities. Titled “Cosas Pequeñas y Extraordinarias,” (Small and Extraordinary Things), the play follows an 8-year-old girl who likes to collect small items and is forced to leave her home and migrate to another country due to violence. Kids in the audience watched as the young girl begins to find small, extraordinary things in her new home.
On World Refugee Day, and every day of the year, KIND is proud to support children on the move.