Central America • Mexico

"La Sagrada Familia" - A safe haven for migrants

Every year, about 400,000 migrants pass through Mexico on their way to the United States. 7,000 of them find protection at the migrant hostel "La Sagrada Familia" in the municipality of Apizaco. AWO International supports the hostel to make the accommodation safer.

In the migration hostel "La Sagrada Familia" a building project is being implemented to make the accommodation safer. (Photo: AWO International)In the migration hostel "La Sagrada Familia" a building project is being implemented to make the accommodation safer. (Photo: AWO International)

The whistle of the freight train "La Bestía", with which many migrants set off on the dangerous journey to the USA, can be heard in the migrant hostel "La Sagrada Familia" (in English: the holy family) in the parish of Apizaco. The tracks lead directly past the hostel. This is where migrants find shelter and safe accommodation.

La Sagrada Familia" was founded by a neighborhood initiative after committed residents observed that many migrants cross their town - completely exhausted from the journey in search of a warm meal, a medical examination or a shelter to recover from the exertions of the journey. The hostel was opened in 2010 and has been open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. More than 30,000 migrants have been cared for here so far.

Hostel provides safe shelter for migrants in transit

In the hostel, the arriving migrants have the opportunity to wash and rest, and they also receive warm meals. Many of them fall ill on the migration route - some suffer from an upset stomach, others have suffered serious injuries while jumping on or off the train "La Bestía". Therefore, during their 48-hour stay, they receive medical care and have the possibility to receive psychological support. They can also make free telephone calls to their relatives at home.

The accommodation also includes educational courses for migrants in transit, in which, for example, awareness of the dangers of human trafficking is raised. Numerous dangers lurking on the way to the USA: Robbery, extortion and kidnapping with ransom demands are part of the everyday life of many migrant women. Women are particularly exposed to sexual violence and the danger of human trafficking.

Construction project to make migration hostel safer

As the migration hostel was created as part of a neighborhood initiative with a small financial budget, some areas have only been provisionally set up. The walls of the accommodation, for example, do not have a proper foundation. In addition, the rooms are not earthquake-proof, even though Mexico is regularly hit by severe earthquakes - the last one in September 2017. With the support of AWO International, construction measures are being implemented to make the hostel safer. The dormitories and the kitchen are being renovated to ensure that the migrants are protected from rain, cold and earthquakes. In addition, the layout is being changed so that the accommodation can be extended with a second floor in the future - this could soon become a necessary measure, as the number of migrants is increasing.

Project information

ProjectSupport for the migration hostel "La Sagrada Familia"
Place/RegionMunicipality of Apizaco in the State of Tlaxcala, Mexico
PartnerHostel La Sagrada Familia A.C
Target group

Migrants in transit in Mexico (about 7,000 persons annually)

  • Purchase of building materials
  • Employment of two architects to provide technical advice on the construction project
  • Employment of workers to implement the construction project
DurationSeptember - December 2017
Budget5.000 Euro

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