December 12, 2012
It is our great pleasure to present to you KIND’s most recent annual report. It’s hard to believe that it has only been a few short years since KIND began working to protect the basic rights of children who come alone to the United States. As you’ll read in these pages, we’ve already made significant strides towards fundamentally changing the way these uniquely vulnerable children are treated after they arrive in this country.
These children often come to us after escaping suffering that can be hard to imagine, particularly in one so young. Severe abuse, abandonment, persecution, violent conflict, natural disaster, forced marriage, female genital mutilation – these are just a few of the incredible trials these children have faced at a tender age.
Most of them come to KIND desperate for assistance in making their case for U.S. protection. And thanks to the commitment and compassion of our pro bono attorneys, we don’t disappoint them. Our continually expanding national network of volunteer attorneys in law firms and corporations has readily stepped in to help. They have often succeeded in opening a world of safety and opportunity that most of these children have never known.
Our growing reputation nationwide as a leading organization in the protection of unaccompanied children and our successful advocacy on their behalf has led to steadily increasing numbers of children coming to us for assistance. As of December 31, 2011, more than 3,400 children from nearly 60 countries had been referred to KIND; our partners included 125 law firms and corporations and we had trained 4,000 lawyers.
We’re also proud to report on the great progress our Guatemalan Child Return and Reintegration Project (GCRRP) has made in assuring the safe and sustainable return of children from the United States to their home communities in Guatemala. With assistance from our four local nongovernmental organization partners in Guatemala, and in partnership with the Global Fund for Children, KIND has helped provide returning children assistance in reuniting with their families and re-starting their education, as well as skills training and counseling services to help them re-adjust and plan for their future.
You will also read stories about the children themselves; they inspire us, and we hope they will inspire you, too. They should also remind us all how precious our freedoms are and that all things are possible when young people are given the chance to be free from fear and provided the opportunity to live out their childhoods in safety and with hope for a productive future.
Brad Smith, Executive Vice President and General Counsel, Microsoft Corporation
Angelina Jolie, Actress and Humanitarian