Estefanía Rebellón is aware of the trauma that stems from being compelled to flee your property for security. She understands the worry and uncertainty felt by the greater than 70 million migrant and forcibly displaced kids around the globe.
She was a migrant little one, too.
“My household’s case is the case of many refugees and migrants on the border. It was by no means a selection for our household to go away our residence. We have been compelled out of it,” Rebellón, 32, stated.
She was 10 when her household fled Cali, Colombia, due to dying threats to her father, who had been compelled into hiding. They settled in Miami, and with the help of lecturers in school, Rebellón thrived. Now, via her nonprofit, Sure We Can World Basis, she gives training for youngsters dwelling in limbo in shelters on the US-Mexico border.
Rebellón moved from Miami to Los Angeles when she was 21 to pursue an performing profession. In 2018, she was so moved after volunteering in migrant camps in Tijuana that she put her profession on maintain.
“There have been no colleges set as much as assist these youngsters. They have been strolling across the camps barefoot,” she stated. “I couldn’t neglect about what I had simply seen. And I used to be like, ‘I actually have to return.’”
Rebellón and her associate, Kyle Schmidt, used about $1,000 of their financial savings to purchase tents and provides and arrange a makeshift college on the border. They enlisted volunteer lecturers to supply studying alternatives within the camps.
“We arrange a faculty in a single day and … informed simply a few youngsters,” Rebellón stated. “It unfold all through the camp, and we had like over 50 youngsters surrounding us.”
Within the months that adopted, when these households dwelling within the camps have been moved to shelters, Rebellón and Schmidt needed to proceed providing instructional companies.
“I believed, “Why don’t we flip a bus right into a cell classroom, and we may take it to all of the totally different shelters?” Rebellón stated. “We actually simply Googled and YouTubed methods to convert a bus right into a cell classroom.”
Over the subsequent yr, Rebellón and Schmidt purchased and gutted a bus, partnered with shelters, and drove the remodeled bus over the border. Their objective: to supply bilingual instructional packages to maintain kids at school.
“All of the households that we work with and all the youngsters that we work with every day are legally looking for asylum,” Rebellón stated. “They’re going via all of the processes which are being required of them.”
Rebellón’s group hires skilled lecturers and tailors their curriculum to the precise wants of every scholar. This system has been accredited by the training secretary in Mexico and serves kids ages 3 to fifteen – a vital interval for training, Rebellón says.
Regardless of the challenges she confronted as a migrant little one, she says she was fortunate to have lecturers who advocated for her and guided her alongside the way in which.
Many migrant kids should not have this help and sometimes fall via the cracks and miss useful college time. Many have been on the highway for months, if not years, and have problem attending college as a result of they’re usually in transit, and not using a everlasting residence. Security, financial instability, poverty, lack of transportation, and perceived authorized standing are additionally elements.
“Folks don’t notice that that is such an extended course of for households,” Rebellón stated. “It’s not identical to you arrive on the border, you search asylum, and your life is all rainbows. It takes a long time and lots of work and lots of ache.”
Rebellón’s household navigated a decades-long authorized course of to acquire political asylum and later US citizenship. Her mother and father, each attorneys by commerce, have been compelled to desert their careers in Colombia and tackle new jobs within the US to help their household of 5. Her mom labored a number of jobs as a caregiver and her father labored nights at Walmart. He has labored there full time for almost 20 years.
“Any time I get an opportunity, I share my immigration story with (the children),” Rebellón stated. “I at all times need the children that come via our packages to comprehend that being a migrant is just not one thing they should be ashamed of.”
At this time, Sure We Can Basis educates 250-300 youngsters a day via its 4 college areas alongside the border and three cell college buses. Since 2019, Rebellón says the group has served greater than 3,100 migrant kids from 10 international locations.
Their program runs Monday via Friday from 9:00 am to three:00 pm. College runs for the complete yr, with no summer season breaks. Additionally they present free uniforms, backpacks, and college provides. Classes deal with widespread core instruction within the topics of language arts, math, and science in addition to addressing sensible and quick wants like methods to translate primary info together with telephone numbers and addresses.
“I need our efforts to be one thing everlasting,” Rebellón stated. “And that when it’s all stated and achieved, we can be proud to look again and say that we have been there when individuals wanted us essentially the most.”
Need to become involved? Take a look at the Sure We Can World Basis web site and see methods to assist.
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