A Venezuelan refugee sits in a wheelchair at a refugee center in Colombia

HI assists Venezuelan refugees in Colombia amid pandemic

Fleeing economic hardship and political unrest in their home country, 4 million Venezuelan refugees escaped to Colombia. Without jobs, housing, or support systems, the refugees have faced additional challenges caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Humanity & Inclusion is providing support – from financial aid to hygiene kits – to hundreds of Venezuelan refugees living in Colombia, where 1 million people have contracted the virus.

More than 200 Venezuelan refugee families are receiving regular financial assistance from Humanity & Inclusion to pay for housing, food, healthcare and other basic needs. Milagros Chacin was able to use cash provided by Humanity & Inclusion to catch up on rent payments and buy mattresses for her children so they don’t have to sleep on the floor of their makeshift home.

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Humanity & Inclusion has also handed out food and hygiene kits containing items like soap and hand sanitizer. To dispel misinformation about the virus, Humanity & Inclusion has conducted awareness sessions on Covid-19. Humanity & Inclusion’s team has also translated 12 videos into Venezuelan and Colombian sign language to share prevention measures, Covid-19 symptoms, and other essential information with some of the most vulnerable people.

In addition to help Venezuelan refugees, Humanity & Inclusion is also helping indigenous people cope with the pandemic. “Many indigenous communities are still in full lockdown, or can no longer work or earn money, so our food distributions are extremely welcome,” said Debir Valdelamar, Deputy Project Officer for Humanity & Inclusion in Colombia.

Humanity & Inclusion continues to provide psychological support and rehabilitation care to mine victims in the regions of Cauca, Meta, Antioquia, Caqueta, and Nariño.

Humanity & Inclusion's response in Colombia since March

  • In April 2020, Humanity & Inclusion distributed 80 food kits, one per family, to people living in the regions of Cauca and Nariño, and more than 200 hygiene kits.
  • Humanity & Inclusion has trained members of national NGOs to include people with disabilities in their projects.
  • Humanity & Inclusion has conducted awareness sessions on Covid-19, and translated 12 informational videos and a prevention guide into Venezuelan and Colombian sign language
  • Humanity & Inclusion has provided remote psychological support to more than 150 Venezuelan refugees in the Maicao refugee centre in northern Colombia, and to people arriving in the cities of Bogota, Medellín, and Baranquilla. Humanity & Inclusion psychologists held Whatsapp sessions with those who needed them.
  • Humanity & Inclusion has enabled 112 Venezuelan refugee families identified by a "vulnerability" survey to benefit from a small, one-off cash transfer.
  • Humanity & Inclusion organized a series of virtual conferences on psychological first aid for caregivers and family members of people with disabilities.

Photo caption: A Venezuelan refugee sits in a wheelchair at a migrant reception center in northern Colombia.