Focus 2021

"Don Bosco" Salesian Welcome Centre - MEG27-12-2021

Mexico – Opening of the "Don Bosco" Salesian Welcome Centre specifically for women

(ANS - Tijuana) - "Taking care of the integrity and dignity of the person" was the phrase that better than any other was able to represent the meaning of the opening of the Salesian Reception Center "Don Bosco", a space dedicated to giving shelter to women who are alone and with children, especially migrants. It was inaugurated yesterday, Tuesday, December 14.

Both the Salesians and the authorities in charge of assisting migrants have noted an increase in the flow of migrant women into Tijuana. After several months of dialogue and work by the Salesians in collaboration with United Nations agencies such as the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and UNICEF, it was possible to design a unique model of care in this border city, activating special care protocols for women, children and adolescents.

The assistance provided includes legal, psychological, medical, spiritual services... According to Fr Agustín Novoa, Director of the entire "Proyecto Salesiano Tijuana", the model promoted in this center is a model of "Social Friendship", in which the aforementioned international agencies, governmental entities and the host community promoted by the Salesian work shall be involved.

This proposal thus amplifies what was already being done for many years in the "Padre Chava" Refectory, another Salesian structure that, in addition to food, offers hundreds of men of legal age, medical, psychological and spiritual counseling... and a place to sleep.

The common interest of the different agencies involved is to provide a safe space for women and their children, avoiding competition between institutions and trying to put the person, her dignity and the defense of her rights at the center of attention. For Fr Novoa, this is a great challenge that "involves getting out of our comfort zone, being open to dialogue, going out to meet others, learning to live with others and looking for our commonalities."

A few years ago, a reception center similar to the current one was already operating in the Don Bosco Oratory in Tijuana, during the previous migration emergency that involved thousands of Haitian citizens. This new proposal, however, has a larger number of organizations involved and aims to respond to the needs of women, not only in a situation of mobility, but also refugees, and offers a proposal that also takes care of their children.