At a time when migration has fully entered the center of the social debate, the education of children on this issue is essential. This was the argument made by the authors of a children’s book told in the best possible way, from the eyes of other children. Paths of lights and shadows is a work that compiles 16 stories accompanied by fabulous illustrations. Each story has a brief title: a first name. Throughout its more than 100 pages, each child will give us his or her particular story of their migration from Central America to the United States.
The work was an initiative of the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and, although intended for children, it is perfectly valid to be read with curiosity by adults. It is a moving collection of stories to reflect on children who have had to flee. One of the greatest dramas of the great tragedy of forced immigration and displacement.
The Northern Triangle
The location of this work is not accidental. Central America has become one of the most dangerous areas in the world, particularly for children . The establishment of criminal gangs, increasingly powerful thanks to drug trafficking and widespread poverty that have helped its social consolidation, has made the region a massive exit point for refugees and emigrants. Specifically, in the area known as the Northern Triangle, made up of Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala , violence has grown exponentially in recent years. Criminal gangs have become more powerful than the police and military forces of the State, creating a situation of chaos. Since 2009, there has been massive displacement in these countries with the United States as the destination. Many of these displaced were children .
Thanks to the support of the United States Office of Population, Refugees, and Migration, the country with the highest number of asylum applications, the project in this book was made possible. Interviews were carried out and numerous biographical material was collected thanks to the collaboration of different public entities, civil society organizations and service centers in Mexico and Central America.
A collection of stories to ponder
IOM’s ultimate goal in launching this project was for the book to become support material for institutions in the region in their education projects on migration. The role of institutions in making children aware of the need to assist migrants and refugees is essential. But, whether or not this goal is achieved, Paths of Lights and Shadows is an excellent collection of short stories that will make children and adults reflect on the terrible reality of the thousands of children who, each year, are forced to flee their homes. and make the most terrible of decisions: escape or die.