The Catholic Church through the Catholic Commission for Social Justice (CCSJ) and the Archdiocese Ministry for Migrants and Refugees (AMMR) has served more than 4,000 refugees so far in 2022 in special community days.
Called "Refugee Day," the community outreach programme is carried out in the areas with the greatest presence of migrants and refugees.
Matthew Pierre, Community Outreach Co-ordinator for the CCSJ told Newsday he normally provides clothing, 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 have attended about 500 people for each day held.
Pierre said the events are attended by a large number of volunteers from both churches and partner 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, the participants are checked by general practitioners who do basic health check-ups, sexual health tests, rapid tests for covid19, vaccines.
The collaborating agencies carry out days of legal service, support for gender violence, among others.
Migrant children are also served with friendly spaces, alternative care, donations of clothing, books, religious support.
Not all services are available for all days.
Pierre said Unicef is the main support partner for the care of migrant children. “We have seven spaces in Trinidad for the attention of migrant children in which we provide education and other general services,” he said.
Pierre said the programme started in September 2021 organised by the AMMR.
“It evolved from our health care campaign started before February 2021, and following the model of Refugee Days on a smaller scale organised by our Ministry for Migrants and Refugees of Santa Rosa and Malabar Parishes in Arima since 2019," He said.
In total, since September 2021, the programme has reached 12 communities.
“Our goal is to organise three more to close the year,” said Pierre.
Maria Flores, a Venezuelan attended at the Arima day, said the attention was very good.
“Migrants here have few opportunities to be treated in hospitals beyond emergencies. On Refugee Day I was able to get a general check-up as well as my two children. They also gave me clothes and food,” she said.