Editor’s note: Jennifer is an Unbound staffer who felt so passionately about the children at the center of the “border crisis” that she sent this email message to her family and friends. We want to share it with you.
It’s not very often that I write things like this, but I’m really troubled by what’s going on at our borders. The true tragedy of this situation is the plight of the innocent children who are alone, scared, and often very sick by the time they reach our border.
Please take a minute to think about how desperate the situation must be for these families to risk the lives of their children in this way.
I work for a Kansas City-based sponsorship organization that works with families in 21 developing countries to create paths out of poverty. Last December I had the opportunity to travel to El Salvador to visit one of our program offices and meet some of the families we serve. Witnessing firsthand the living conditions in Central America was life-changing. You simply cannot imagine the daily difficulties these hard-working families face just to survive.
I met a beautiful little girl named Emely. She lives with her parents, nine siblings and cousins, and her grandmother in a small, coffee-growing community nestled in the hills above Santa Ana in central El Salvador.
Emely is 6 years old and has suffered numerous ear infections in her short life — a common occurrence for many young children. The difference is that our children have access to basic health care and medicine when necessary. Emely does not.
As a result, Emely has complete hearing loss in her left ear and 80 percent loss in her right. Her speech has also been impacted. She will likely not be able to attend school because there are no speech therapists or special education teachers in her small, impoverished community. Sadly, this is a common reality for many children in Central America.
I’m sharing Emely’s story with you to refocus the attention toward these children, instead of the politics surrounding them. The parents of these children simply want what we all want for our children — a better life and opportunities for the future. I urge you to consider this situation from their perspective. These families need our help, support and prayers – not our criticism.
If you want to see these children building better lives in their own communities, join me in doing something concrete about it. Together we can offer these families access to basic nutrition, health care, education and hope for better lives.