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Schools on Wheels: An Unconventional Method to Educate Children Stuck in Border Cities

As children and their families continue to make the dangerous journey from Latin American Countries to the U.S. border in hopes of seeking asylum in a country that provides safety and resources, there is an increasing concern for what happens to these families when they are stuck in limbo at border cities, waiting to enter the U.S.. While border cities are still riddled with violence and offer little safety to these vulnerable families, one program aims to reinstate valuable resources that are non-existent in such locations.

In the border city of Tijuana, in a dirt parking lot adjoining a migrant shelter, a school bus provides migrant children with the rare opportunity to gain an education. Estefania Rebellon, the director of the “Yes We Can” Foundation providing children with this opportunity says that they offer specialized bilingual education for students who tend to have low literacy rates as well bear struggles with social skills. However, more significantly, Rebellon emphasizes the safety and comfort that the students are embraced with on these buses, a far cry from the dilapidated and unsanitary migrant shelters at the border.

Inside one of the buses used by the "Yes We Can" Foundation,
Inside one of the buses used by the "Yes We Can" Foundation,

For most of these children, education was an unattainable desire, even in the countries and cities that they were fleeing from. Some of these migrant children were held back from attending school because of the increasing risk of violence. Moreover, Rebellion states that many teachers have also chosen not to attend their classes out of fear of being killed or kidnapped, and children have subsequently been absent from traditional education for several months.

As of now, the "Yes We Can" Foundation has opened locations in Tijuana, Juarez, and Los Angeles and hopes to continue increasing production of these mobile schools to serve children in other major border cities. Moreover, the program continues to expand to not only offer education to children ages five to twelve but also by conducting classes for teens seeking to gain a stronger educational foundation. Many of the children that this program has aided are in vulnerable positions, whose families are waiting weeks and months as they inch higher on a substantial waitlist to apply for asylum in the U.S.. It is the work of these organizations committed to aiding these vulnerable families by providing services and resources that are absent in their journeys to the United States.


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