Migrants forced to wait out asylum process in Mexico learn job skills

Border Report

TIJUANA (Border Report) — Several migrant women from Central America are spending their weekdays learning how to braid hair and make jewelry, trades that will help them make money while they await their asylum cases to be heard north of the border.

A group called Families Belong Together is sponsoring workshops for women like Mayne from Cuba and Suzy from Honduras.

Mayne in white, who is from Cuba, is not only learning about hair styling, but she’s also begun teaching others how to do it at a workshop in Tijuana, Mexico. (Jorge Nieto special to Border Report)

Instructors teach not only hair techniques and jewelry fabrication but the art of manicures and embroidery.

“It allows them to make money because at this point right now they are unemployed,” said Christian Romero, organizer with Families Belong Together.

According to Romero, the training lasts several weeks and prepares the women for jobs outside the shelters or small apartments where they live. In the meantime, they can keep 90 percent of the money they earn when selling earnings, embroidery and other items they have made.

Families Belong Together is sponsoring training workshops for women in Tijuana. (Jorge Nieto special to Border Report)

“These workshops allow them to create things, products they can sell, and allow them to find a better or more formal job,” said Romero, who added that the women are also learning more about themselves.

“As weeks go by and they get skills they create a bond between members of the group, it’s important because most of them are alone, they start to speak more, to smile more, these workshops are also a coping skill for stress and anxiety,” Romero said.

Romero says their instructors are starting to venture into shelters to reach more women who don’t have the means or transportation to get the workshops.

Child care is also offered free of charge so the women can concentrate on their learning.

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