The Catholic Church, through the Catholic Commission for Social Justice (CCJS) and the Archdiocesan Ministry for Migrants and Refugees (AMMR), has served over 4,000 refugees so far in 2022 on special community days.
Called “Refugee Day”, the community outreach program is implemented in areas with the highest presence of migrants and refugees.
Matthew Pierre, community outreach coordinator for CCJs, told Newsday that he normally provides clothes, food and other items to migrants.
“So far this year we have visited Freeport, Penal, Arima (Malabar), Diego Martin, Curepe, Scarborough (Tobago), La Romaine and Mayaro,” said Pierre.
He said they attended about 500 people for each day held.
Pierre said the events are attended by a large number of volunteers from partner churches and agencies and from the refugee community itself.
Among the collaborators, the following stand out: UNHCR, PAHO, Unicef, Living Water Community, International Organization for Migrants, among others.
In the health services, participants are checked by general practitioners who do basic health checks, sexual health tests, rapid tests for covid19, vaccinations.
Collaborating agencies carry out days of legal service, support for gender-based violence, among others.
Migrant children are also served with friendly spaces, alternative care, clothing donations, books, religious support.
Not all services are available every day.
Pierre said Unicef is the main support partner for the care of migrant children. “We have seven spaces in Trinidad for migrant children where we provide education and other general services,” he said.
Pierre specifies that the program started in September 2021 organized by the AMMR.
“This evolved from our health care campaign started before February 2021 and following the model of the smaller scale Refugee Days organized by our Ministry of Migrants and Refugees in the parishes of Santa Rosa and Malabar in Arima since 2019. “, did he declare.
In total, since September 2021, the program has reached 12 communities.
“Our goal is to organize three more to close the year,” said Pierre.
Maria Flores, a Venezuelan who attended Arima Day, said the attention was very good.
“Migrants here have few possibilities of being treated in hospitals beyond emergencies. On Refugee Day, I was able to have a general medical examination together with my two children. They also gave me clothes and food,” she said.