International Day of Family Remittances: Helping the economy here and in the homelands

June 16 was the International day of Family Remittances, chosen by the United Nations General Assembly to recognize the contributions of “over 200 million migrants to improve the lives of their 800 million family members back home.” Half of these payments go to rural areas, “where poverty and hunger are concentrated, and where remittances count the most.”

International Day of Family Remittances

The numbers are striking: all remittances sent over the world add up to more than three times the amount of Official Development Assistance (government aid designed to promote the economic development and welfare of developing countries) and have also surpassed Foreign Direct Investment (an investment from a party in one country into a business in another country).

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“Family remittances have a direct impact on the lives of one billion people—one out of seven individuals on earth,” says UN Secretary-General António Guterres.

These remittances are a driver of economic growth, which help families reduce poverty and strengthen their capabilities when uncertainty is part of their daily lives. As Guterres states in his message for 2019: “Indeed, migrants are essential both to the economic well-being of developed countries and their countries of origin.”

Sending money to our families back home is part of the lives of many Latino immigrants living in the United States, and we asked a few of them to share their story. Why do they do this?

“You do it because you love your family and you want to help them live better lives. It’s your obligation. From my first paycheck, it was my mom first and whatever was left was for me.”

–Aurora Posada

 

“I send money to help my family. Like our moms. To save for retirement, build and finish my house, and to save for when we go visit.”

–Francisca Trejo de Ramirez

 

“My daughters and I send money to help my mom pay bills, buy medicine, and live without worrying about money. I know people who spend most of their paycheck to support their kids back home because they need school clothes, school supplies, and food. We don’t have much, but we help however we can.”

–Perla Hernandez

 

This week, we recognize these migrants who are supporting their families here and abroad. This week we recognize these families making an impact in the economy of two countries, “because this is what you do,” as Posada excellently stated.

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