Covenant House and Beatles History Come Together
It was 40 years ago this week that former Beatle George Harrison and his wife Olivia gave Covenant House a gift to open our first safe house for children who were trafficked in Guatemala. Since George and Olivia first planted those seeds all those years ago, our Covenant House programs in Guatemala, Nicaragua, Mexico, and Honduras have been a vibrant force of life and love for children and youth who are filled with hope and promise, but in too many cases living in danger and without opportunity.
Today, as deep poverty, violence, and unstable governments force families in Latin America to flee their homes, thousands of people, especially children, are at risk, and the work George and Olivia recognized as so important in 1982 has taken on an even greater urgency in 2022.
Covenant House is unique in Latin America for the wide array of services we offer for children and youth aged 12-18, many of whom have been sexually abused, abandoned, trafficked, and others who are in the petrifying situation of being alone as they flee the danger of their own countries as unaccompanied migrant children.
Every day our Latin American outreach teams go out and provide support to children living in some of the poorest, most dangerous areas imaginable: garbage dumps, highways, and makeshift cardboard houses. Our teams build relationships and work to be the bridge from life on the streets to sanctuary at Covenant House. We establish contact with families whenever possible, working with both the children and families toward reintegration. If reintegration within the family is not possible, the child or teen stays at Covenant House to work on their long-term plan, which includes educational and vocational programs and eventually assistance in finding long-term housing.
In Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, and throughout the region, traffickers and gang members exploit children and teenagers in sex trafficking and forced labor. Covenant House is a sanctuary for these children and youth, providing food, clothing, safe shelter, and counseling. At the same time, our legal teams fight to prosecute the criminals who buy and sell our children, and are tireless, courageous advocates working to change laws and fight corruption.
Sanctuary, opportunity, and hope. This is what we offer every day to the beautiful children and young people in Latin America. The Covenant House movement is a movement of love, and today we take a special moment to remember George Harrison, and to thank Olivia, for their enduring legacy of love.