MEXICO CITY / MADRID, 15 June –Save the Children worked with renowned writer, screenwriter, and film director Guillermo Arriaga and the comic book artist Humberto Ramos to tell the story of Central American child migrants in a new comic, ANA, which launches today.
ANA is the story of a girl who flees from Honduras to save her and her family’s life. Together they embark on the painful path of forced migration to the United States. Through the narrative and the images, readers enter a reality that thousands of girls, boys, and teenagers live every year on the American continent.
The comic was produced with funding from the humanitarian aid program of the European Union.
An estimated 300,000 people migrate from Central America to the United States every year, most of them crossing irregularly through Mexico. One in three migrants entering the country are children; whether accompanied or alone, they cross through increasingly dangerous routes to avoid immigration controls. These girls and boys are mainly fleeing poverty, violence, political conflicts, and the impacts of climate change and the COVID-19 crisis.
Despite the pandemic, Mexican immigration authorities monitored the entry of nearly 12,000 migrant girls and boys in 2020. The number is believed to be much higher as many are not registered by the Mexican authorities. Between January and May 2021, at least 65,536 unaccompanied children and adolescents crossed irregularly into the United States from Mexican territory, some of Mexican origin and others of Central American origin.
The comic book ANA is an effort to raise awareness about the dire situation of the migration of girls, boys, and teenagers in the region.
"When I wrote the comic I was guided by one word, which is hope. I think you work with these causes to bring hope. If anything, what I want is to reflect what the work of Save the Children means, which is to give hope to migrant children. The narrative of ANA came up after the organization shared with me the stories of the children they work with every day, but also from my experience, as I have many dear friends who have crossed into the United States illegally," said Guillermo Arriaga, scriptwriter of ANA.
"Translating words into images is a big commitment - the writer is trusting you to convey the stories into images. We may think these stories are distant, but they are very close, closer than we would like to believe. My work has always been focused on drawing superheroes and when I was invited to do this collaboration I accepted it immediately. Contributing to this cause helps us to give hope and tell real stories that can have a happy ending for girls and boys," said Humberto Ramos, cartoonist of ANA.
ANA is part of the humanitarian aid program for the migrant population funded by the European Union, and is implemented by Save the Children and HIAS Mexico in the cities of Tijuana, Ciudad Juárez, Mexicali, Monterrey, and Tapachula. Through this project was have provided psychosocial support and legal assistance of victims of gender-based violence, as well as training in disaster risk reduction and protection in the shelters where children and women spend the night.
To see a digital version of the comic, go to www.apoyo.savethechildren.mx/ana
Notes to editors:
GUILLERMO ARRIAGA: ANA is Guillermo's first foray into the world of comics. The renowned writer, screenwriter, producer and film director has written four novels: "Escuadrón Guillotina", "Un dulce olor a muerte", "El Búfalo de la Noche", "El Salvaje" and most recently, "Salvar el Fuego", as well as a book of short stories: "Retorno 201", books with which he has become one of the most influential writers in contemporary literature and in the Spanish language.
In 2020, he won the Alfaguara Novel Prize for “Salvar el fuego”. He is also the author of the films: "Amores Perros", "21 gramos", "Los Tres Entierros de Melquíades Estrada", with which he won the Palme d'Or for best screenplay at the 2005 Cannes International Film Festival, "Babel", with which he earned an Oscar nomination for best screenplay in 2007, as well as "El Búfalo de la Noche" and "The Burning Plain".
In 2010 he wrote and directed the short film "El Pozo" to celebrate the Centennial of the Mexican Revolution. He has also received awards such as the Golden Lion of Venice for the film "Desde Allá", written and directed by Lorenzo Vigas and the Star Award granted by the Dallas Film Festival.
HUMBERTO RAMOS: Ana is the first contribution of the cartoonist for a social cause. Humberto is the most successful Mexican cartoonist worldwide. Since 1992 he has worked in the most important publishing companies in the world. His beginnings in Milestone, opened the doors to DC Comics, where he gave life to characters like Impulse. His time at publishers such as Event Comics and Wildstorm allowed him to make his debut film “Crimson”, together with Oscar Pinto and Francisco Haghenbeck, which enabled him to further develop his skill as an author with titles such as “Out There” and “Revelations”.
His talent opened the doors of Marvel Comics, where he remains to this day giving life to the most emblematic characters of that publishing house, being mostly recognized for his work in Spiderman. His work has been published in more than 20 languages and his merits led him to win the prestigious Prix Saint-Michel award in Belgium, the cradle of comics in Europe, as well as the Inkpot Award, given by the Comic-Con International of San Diego in recognition of his career and work. His art reached the cinema when in 2011, he developed the conceptual art of the French film "The Prodigies" by director Antoine Charreyron.
SAVE THE CHILDREN is the leading independent organization in the promotion and defense of the rights of girls, boys and adolescents. It works in more than 120 countries, attending emergency situations and development programs. It supports children in order to have a healthy and safe childhood. Since 1973, it has worked in Mexico with health and nutrition programs, education, protection and defense of the rights of children and adolescents, within the framework of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. In Spain, it has been working for more than 20 years with programmes to care for the most vulnerable girls and boys, focusing on children at risk of poverty or social exclusion. Through these programmes in Spain, it provides comprehensive care for children and their families so that the economic situation or social exclusion in which the children live, does not prevent them from fully enjoying their rights and they can reach the maximum of their capacities.
HUMANITARIAN AID FROM THE EUROPEAN UNION: The European Union and its Member States are the largest donors of humanitarian aid in the world. Aid is an expression of European solidarity towards people in need. The European Union, through its Directorate-General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO), assists millions of people affected by conflicts and disasters worldwide every year. Headquartered in Brussels and with a global network of field offices, the European Union helps the most vulnerable people on the basis of humanitarian needs.