LWF World Service marks forty years in Central America
(LWI) - “As a global Christian World Communion, the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) is unique in that it holds under one roof both the multifaceted work with the member churches and our humanitarian and development arm World Service”, said LWF general secretary Rev. Dr Anne Burghardt visiting Central America – where the LWF’s World Service country program now marks 40 years of service to communities in need.
The program – whose activities stretch across four countries in the region – includes projects in the areas of livelihoods, climate change, human rights and gender justice, migration, humanitarian assistance and disaster preparedness.
LWF stands out, providing support for returning migrants
In the midst of a region suffering long-term political and social challenges, including hunger, poverty, violence and the increasing impact of a changing climate, the LWF’s approach is not just to deliver specific services but to reach out a friendly hand which is ready to support and to offer hope, explains Carlos Rivera, coordinator of the LWF’s work in Honduras. A key focus of that work is supporting young people, who once took the decision to migrate in order to find better opportunities in life, but who have been deported back to their country of origin.
“Without exception, these young people come back with a need for psychosocial support, as when they come back, they are even worse off than when they left. Most of them still have family connections in Honduras, but they come back without any resources to draw on as they try to reintegrate,” Rivera adds, noting that for some migrants the journey has also entailed taking on debt that they need to find a way of paying on their return.
“To migrate is a right. We cannot say to people ‘don’t go’. But what we can do is lend a friendly hand, and an opportunity to build up their lives here in Honduras and contribute to their communities,” Rivera reflects.
Through a program centered on upholding dignity and sustaining hope for returning migrants, the LWF in Honduras this year directly supports 143 young people aged 18-30, in their efforts to build a new life in their communities.