Development and Identity of Guatemalan Refugee Children in Mexico: Conditions and Options for Support Interventions

Inda Saenz-Romero, Juan Jose Sanchez-Sosa

Abstract


The study describes current conditions
of Guatemalan refugee children living
in shelter camps in the Mexican southeastern
states of Chiapas, Campeche and
Quintana-Roo. Aspects of children's
refugee life in Mexico City are also described.
Analysis includes historic and
contextual aspects of Guatemalan refuge
in Mexico since the eighties: counter-
insurgent wars, fleeing, arrival in
Mexico, psychosocial and traumatic
experiences, problems and expectations
emerging from the prospect of returning
to Guatemala and consequences of
the Chiapas armed conflict. More specifically,
the study analyses such issues
as health and nutrition, and especially
education. Analyses compare the
camps' school systems and additional
support actions based on training programs
for "community promoters. "
Trainees are both adults and children,
and program activities include the promotion
of cultural identity, therapeutic
work on traumatic experiences, coping
with the challenge of returning to Guatemala
en masse, and treating or preventing
other psychological complaints.

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