by Moira Cullings
KANSAS CITY, Kan. — After serving more than 260,000 migrants, refugees and displaced persons in need of basic assistance, Casa del Migrante in Tijuana, Mexico, is ready to do more.
“People arrive at the Casa beaten and broken, and it is our mission to put them back together by offering them security, work, dignity and hope for a new life,” said Father Pat Murphy, CS, director of the Casa.
Those who enter the Casa’s doors are currently given three meals a day, shelter and clothing, and access to a lawyer, a psychologist, a job counselor and social workers.
But Mike Horn, internal auditor for the Archdiocese in Kansas City in Kansas, said it’s not enough.
“The facility they have right now is pretty much just putting out a quick fire when people show up and they don’t have a place to go,” he explained.
That’s why Horn is working with the Casa to fundraise for a new building that will enhance the lives of those who pass through its doors — this time, with long-term goals in mind.
“Our experience tells us that the key to helping people start new lives in Tijuana, where there are lots of jobs, is to prepare for the future,” said Father Pat.
The best way to make that happen? Through education, he said.
To give migrants and refugees in Tijuana the tools that will shape their future in a positive way, the Casa created the Scalabrinian Center of Formation for Migrants in May 2018.
Within seven months of the school’s opening, more than 2,000 adults were learning computer skills, English and Spanish, and taking part in a variety of helpful other courses through the center, said Father Pat.
But space is limited, so the Casa purchased a nearby piece of property where it will construct a separate building for the center, which will have the capacity to offer computer, language and Catholic faith classes, as well as courses in trades like carpentry, electricity and solar panel repair.
Father Pat hopes to open the center in July 2020, starting with 75 students per week and expanding to 300-400 in the first year.
To accomplish this, the Casa needs help — both financially and spiritually.
And Horn emphasized one thing in particular to keep in mind.
“Some people want to make it political,” he said. “And it’s not political — it’s a humanitarian effort.”
Father Pat is eager to open the center and give those it serves “hope for a better tomorrow.”
“Our goal is rather simple,” he said, “that every single person who comes through the Casa leaves the Casa as a better person.”
How to donate
To donate or for more information, click here.
To donate to this project by check, send to:
Fathers of St. Charles
c/o Casa del Migrante (Tijuana)
546 N. East Ave.
Oak Park, IL 60302
Make checks payable to: Fathers of St. Charles. Donations are sent directly to the Fathers of St. Charles, a U.S. nonprofit in Chicago, and donors will receive a tax donation letter that can be used on U.S. tax returns.