Stories from change-makers in Mexico

Emily Jade Clara
Young girl smiling for camera wearing a pink shirt.
Emily, 13, had no idea she was growing up in one of the most violent countries in the world.
Elevated levels of crime, poverty and instability are among the top reasons many leave El Salvador, in search of someplace safer to call home.

But Emily was happy in the rural community where she lived with her family. Then COVID-19 came along, and everything changed.

When Emily’s father lost his job, the family lost their only source of income. Like most of the nearly 500,000 people who cross the border into Mexico each year, they left because they were out of options.

But that didn’t make it any easier to say goodbye to the only home Emily had ever known, or any less terrifying to set off for a place they’d never been before, in the midst of a global pandemic.

Migration routes to Mexico are treacherous — girls and their families are often preyed upon by criminal organizations. They struggle to find food, safe drinking water, shelter and other basic services. Emily’s family made it to Mexico, but starting over is difficult.

Through Plan’s Protected Passage program, we’re helping girls like Emily settle in to their new lives, providing essential supplies like hygiene kits, information on how to stay healthy during a pandemic and debit cards to buy groceries.

Emily hopes to join a girls’ soccer team and is excited to return to school.

“If I was studying now, then it would mean that I know what to be in the future," Emily says. “But I still do not know.”
Protect girls like Emily today
Young woman feeding a baby with a bottle.
Jade is a 16-year-old living in Mexico. She is originally from Honduras, where she dreamed of becoming a doctor.
Then, a series of events changed her life in 2020. She met the man who is now her husband. Then, Hurricanes Eta and Iota hit Honduras. Jade’s father lost his home and all of his belongings. She hasn’t been able to contact him since.

Meanwhile, Jade found out she was pregnant. So, she quit school and started working at a grocery store owned by her husband’s parents. They were making things work — until her husband started receiving death threats.

It’s not uncommon in Honduras for gangs to demand that men join their ranks, or that business owners pay protection fees to operate. If you refuse, you risk violent retaliation. The threats got so bad that Jade’s husband left, moving north to Mexico. He couldn’t be there when Jade gave birth to their daughter, Franchesca. Worse, the threats didn’t stop — they were redirected at Jade.

So, Jade decided to join her husband in Mexico. The journey was dangerous, but she feared that staying would be worse. When they finally arrived, Franchesca met her father for the first time.

Jade feels relieved to be back with her husband, but the people who threatened her are still too close for comfort. Her family plans to continue north, once their migration paperwork is processed.

In the meantime, Jade’s husband works as a barber. Once they settle down, she wants to open a salon.
“I never forget my goal of fighting, having a house, a business and continuing to study,” she says. “Being such a young mother is not easy, but it is not impossible, either. So, I try to get ahead, day by day, because my daughter needs me, and she can’t defend herself.”
Give the gift of a newborn baby kit
Three people sitting around a table.
Clara is a 10-year-old girl from Guatemala. She has an active imagination and loves to read.
Clara and her parents are currently living in a shelter supported by Protected Passage in Mexico. They left their home in Guatemala because Clara’s parents were struggling to find work. Now, they’re on their way to the U.S., where they hope to find better jobs, so that that Clara can have a better life.

Already, some things are starting to improve. Clara only recently started getting her period, and sometimes, her parents don’t have the money to buy her menstrual pads. But through Protected Passage, she received a menstrual health kit and learned how to take care of herself when she’s on her period.

After the workshop, she had some advice for parents.

“Support your sons or daughters, so they don’t feel uncomfortable,” she said. “So they feel the same as us, the same as I feel.”

Clara also had advice for girls like her, who are still learning about menstruation.

“Do not be scared when menstruating, because it is very normal and be very careful,” she said.

Clara’s mother also expressed gratitude for the kit and the workshop, because she says that she and her husband don’t always have time to teach their children about things like this.

“It is very good that there are people who care about the well-being of adolescents by teaching them that there are ways to take care of oneself, mainly girls, that they take the time to teach them,” she said. “Thank you for supporting Clara, and other girls like her who are migrating, with the tools they need to grow up healthy.”
Meet more young people advocating for change

Plan International has been working to improve children’s lives in Mexico since 2020.

Our work in Mexico

Mexico country page stats section image of little girl in front of paint splotches.
Office & operations

Plan Mexico’s office is located in Tapachula.

Technical areas

Plan Mexico focuses on the following program areas: protection, education, participation and life skills.

Number of sponsored children

We do not currently have a sponsorship program in Mexico.

Why sponsor with Plan?

Gender equality is a fight we must all take on together. Through sponsorship, you can change lives and create long-term impact in communities.

The full circle of Fate

When you sponsor a child through Plan, you form an incredible friendship.

Sunny Days Magazine Child using a viewfinder and smiling

But that’s just the beginning. With Plan, you also have the unique opportunity to:

Birthday icon

Send them birthday gifts and cards.

Little Treasures icon

Give them special holiday presents called Little Treasures.

Sunny Days icon

Subscribe them to Plan’s educational kids’ magazine, Sunny Days.

Travel icon

Arrange a visit (pending any travel restrictions), with individual travel assistance from us.

Each gift offering is safely hand-delivered by us, and given to your child with personalized cards from you. It’s likely that the child you sponsor will have never seen anything like these gifts, and with the exception of Little Treasures they’re available year-round to make the bond between you and your sponsored child even stronger.

Meet a child to sponsor