Migrants from Central America arriving in the border town of Tapachula, Mexico are journeying toward a better life, but often the reality they meet is harsh: just last year, nearly 100,000 of them ended up imprisoned in a crowded Mexican detention center that has little concern for their human rights.

That’s where Centro de Derechos Humanos Fray Matías de Córdova A.C. (Fray Matías) comes in. The small nonprofit has worked to defend the rights of Tapachula’s immigrants since 1997.

Q: What’s your organization’s elevator pitch?

A: We defend the human rights and the right to dignity of migrants and refugees that cross or live on the southern border of Mexico. When they arrive to Tapachula they face discrimination because they’re undocumented, and they can suffer huge violations. We give the most comprehensive support we can to help them live here free from discrimination and with equal rights and access to justice.

Q: Why did you decide to work for gender equality?

A: If we’re fighting for equal rights, we need to achieve equality for women. The machista gender roles that have been imposed on us are a central element of our fight.

Read the full interview with Diego Lorente on defending immigrants by Dana Preston at Hispanics in Philanthropy