Gerber fled Guatemala for the US when he was just a child. Now he’s advocating for child migrants’ rights. Here’s his story.
Gerber made the dangerous journey from Guatemala to the US when he was just 12 years old.
Our Changemaker organisation in San Francisco, Legal Services for Children (LSC), supported him to gain legal status in the US and continued to work with him through their documentary photography project, ‘PhotoVoice’, to help tell his story and make the voices of marginalised children heard.
More recently JUCONI, our Changemaker organisation in Mexico, invited him to their Congreso to speak to childcare and protection professionals about his experience of a childhood on the move in Latin America – an example of the power of our Alliance in spreading best practice and advocating for child rights across borders.
In conversation with Gerber:
Tell us about your trip to Mexico. Could you tell us why you were invited to speak?
I participated in a PhotoVoice project at Legal Services for Children in 2018 and I was asked to speak at JUCONI’s Congreso about that experience. I enjoyed being part of PhotoVoice, and felt safe knowing I was with people who supported me.
Tell us a little about your journey to the United States. How did it happen?
I am from Guatemala but I did not know my father because he came to the United States when I was very young. I wanted to meet him, so I came to the US to live with him and also to work on my goal of getting an education. When I was 12, my sisters and I left Guatemala and made the journey through Mexico to the US.
How did you come into contact with Legal Services for Children and how did they support you?
My sister put me in contact with Legal Services for Children. Her attorney said I could be added to her case. LSC taught me things I didn’t know, like my legal rights.
What would you like to see change for children on the move in the future?
I would like to see more programmes for youth who might be going through something difficult and who need a space where they can talk to others and forget about their problems. I would recommend groups like PhotoVoice because it really helped me and showed me that there are many people who want to help children.