The Migrant Caravan: Why it happened, why it will continue, and what we’re doing about it.

Key facts:

  • Over 7,000 migrants joined the caravan at its peak in 2018,

  • People from all walks of life, including young men and women, children, and infants formed the caravan,

  • The caravan distance spans over 4,000km from Honduras to Mexico,

  • Access to health, legal, and social services remains a serious concern for participants of the caravan,

  • As of March, 2019, more caravans are forming in Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala.


In mid-2018, a group of Central Americans formed in San Pedro Sula, Honduras with one goal:

To march from Honduras northbound to the United States, in search of a better life.

Thousands of migrant from Central America approached the Guatemalan border towards Mexico in October, 2018.

Thousands of migrant from Central America approached the Guatemalan border towards Mexico in October, 2018.

The reason people - from all walks of life - are fleeing is complex and varied. For many people, it boils down to one thing: insecurity. Both in the economic and physical sense, thousands of people in Central America and Mexico face the harsh effects of poverty and violence on a daily basis. These factors are strong enough that it forces families to leave their communities in search of a better life.

Street vendors selling blankets and knitted items at night in San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico. Women often sell items in the street, while men work low-income agricultural jobs in Chiapas.

Street vendors selling blankets and knitted items at night in San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico. Women often sell items in the street, while men work low-income agricultural jobs in Chiapas.

Poverty and violence is serious concern for Central Americans.

As long as poverty and insecurity continues to be an issue in the region, people from all walks of life will continue to make the treacherous journey from their home countries, to the United States and Canada. The journey is dangerous and isolating, yet Central Americans are willing to make the sacrifice if it means the possibility of a better life.

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As of March, 2019, other migrant caravans are beginning to form in the region - despite the U.S. government’s threats to close the border with Mexico. We are certain other migrant caravans will form in 2019 and beyond, as a direct result of the endemic poverty and violence in Central America and Mexico.

Apartments in a low-income neighborhood in Panama City, Panama.

Apartments in a low-income neighborhood in Panama City, Panama.


We’re creating pockets of change in Central America and Mexico.

Horizons of Friendship (Horizons) and its local, grassroots partners are working together to end poverty and injustice in the region. Together, we’re working to end the systemic issues that are forcing families to flee their community in search of a better life. Our partners empower communities members to hold politicians and governments accountable to the people it is supposed to serve and protect. Right now, Horizons and its partners are working to to end issues such as violence against women, food insecurity and malnutrition, and poverty by creating pockets of change in communities across Central America and Mexico. Here are just some of the things Horizons’ and its partners are working to do in the region:

Madres Maestras in San Miguelito, Panama

Youth at the Madres Maestras youth community centre showing off their latest arts and crafts in San Miguelito, Panama.

Youth at the Madres Maestras youth community centre showing off their latest arts and crafts in San Miguelito, Panama.

Horizons supports youth and their mothers in Panama with educational opportunities to promote literacy and building practical skills with the end goal of breaking the cycle of poverty in some of Panama City’s most under-resourced communities. Mothers can bring their children to one of Madres Maestras youth community centres, and give their kids a “leg-up” on learning math, reading and writing, and the arts. Primarily serving kids ages 3-7, Madres Maestras is effectively giving youth a head-start in life, in the hopes of breaking the cycle of poverty endemic to urban and rural communities in Panama.

Through its local partner Manos de Tigre, Horizons’ programming in Costa Rica works with the Indigenous Boruca population towards creating sustainable agricultural systems. This crucial work empowers families to become sustainable farmers of local species of fish and chicken, with the goal of sustaining their own dietary needs and selling the surplus to local markets.

Through its local partner Manos de Tigre, Horizons’ programming in Costa Rica works with the Indigenous Boruca population towards creating sustainable agricultural systems. This crucial work empowers families to become sustainable farmers of local species of fish and chicken, with the goal of sustaining their own dietary needs and selling the surplus to local markets.

Through its local partner Manos de Tigre, Horizons’ programming in Costa Rica works with the Indigenous Boruca and Terraba population towards creating sustainable agricultural systems. This crucial work empowers families to become sustainable farmers of local species of fish, pork, and chicken, with the goal of sustaining their own dietary needs and selling the surplus to local markets.

Merly Eguigure, from Visitacion Padilla, lecturing students and young professionals on violence against women and femicide in Honduras.

Merly Eguigure, from Visitacion Padilla, lecturing students and young professionals on violence against women and femicide in Honduras.

Honduras is one of the most dangerous places in the world to be a woman. To address high levels of violence against women and femicide, Horizons and its local partner Visitacion Padilla are working to educate the next generation of professionals and leaders in Honduras on violence against women.


These are just some of the pockets of change Horizons and its partners are creating in Central America and Mexico. To learn more, visit our project page.