Bogota day care centre helps at-risk Venezuelan children cope with the adaptation process
According to a report from the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Venezuelan children travelling to Colombia are often underweight and susceptible to assault.
While more than one million Venezuelans have resettled in Colombia or received special permission to remain from the government, others remain undocumented and vulnerable.
Statistics show that approximately three million migrants and refugees have left Venezuela where they faced severe economic hardship and shortages, combined with a complex political environment.
At a children’s day care centre in Bogota Hearts without Borders, volunteers help newly arrived Venezuelan children adapt to the abrupt change in their lives. The programme implements writing exercises, drawings and stickers to help children explain their personal experiences.
Sandra Rodriguez, Director of Hearts without Borders commented:
“We help them understand what they are going through and to recognise that despite the circumstances they are capable of achieving so much.”
The centre also provides medical and dental appointments who can detect traces of malnutrition due to a lack of access to basic foods in Venezuela.
Jozef Merkx, UNHCR’s Representative in Colombia emphasised the importance of helping refugee children gain access to education by stating:
“The most durable solution for children and their parents will be integration into their host communities, and part of that is getting them access to education. Ensuring access to schools is the best way to make sure children are protected and able to thrive.”
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Photo Credit: UNCHR