Executing solutions to foster the development of Venezuelans communities.
Despite some spontaneous returns of Venezuelan nationals to their country of origin, the outflow of Venezuelan refugees and migrants to neighbouring countries and beyond persists.
The number of refugees and migrants from Venezuela has surpassed 7 million globally. While host communities and countries in the region are committed to helping Venezuelans and have been generously welcoming them, they are increasingly overstretched. Several countries are implementing large-scale regularization processes to ensure refugees and migrants are documented and have access to rights and services. However, these efforts and gestures of solidarity require financial support to succeed and ensure no one is left behind.
Most refugees and migrants from Venezuela arriving in neighbouring countries are families with children, pregnant women, elderly people, and people with disabilities. Many are facing poverty and struggling to survive.
The spiralling cost of living, fallout from the COVID-19 emergency, and high unemployment rates have increased the vulnerability of Venezuelan refugees and migrants and have made it difficult for many to rebuild their lives and integrate into host societies across the region. Half of all refugees and migrants in Latin America and the Caribbean cannot afford three meals a day and lack access to safe and dignified housing. To access food or avoid homelessness, many Venezuelans resort to survival sex, begging or indebtedness.
The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic still represent difficulties for socio-economic integration, pushing Venezuelans deeper into poverty. Many families, forced to reduce their food intake, have taken on debts to survive. They are at risk of eviction, exploitation, and protection risks. Economic hardships and political instability in some countries and increasing competition for jobs and limited access to public services have led to cases of discrimination and xenophobia.
Extremely low salaries further hinder the ability of Venezuelan refugees and migrants to support themselves and their families. Many refugee and migrant children still face multiple obstacles to accessing education services in their host countries, notably due to the lack of enrolment slots or space in schools. Those who lack documentation, livelihoods, and prospects of local integration are resorting to onward movements in search of a safe and sustainable future. Many put their lives at risk by taking extremely dangerous irregular routes.
Fijishi’s initiative to address the emergency
Fijishi is undertaking several activities to protect Venezuelan refugees and migrants while responding to their humanitarian needs and promoting socio-economic inclusion.
To ensure safe and dignified reception conditions, Fijishi is working in border areas across the region, providing life-saving assistance including drinking water and hygiene kits for women and children and responding to the basic needs of refugees. Fijishi is supporting the relocation of Venezuelan refugees and migrants to places with more employment opportunities and services.
Fijishi is supporting temporary shelters and accommodation networks, community infrastructure interventions, child-friendly spaces, and spaces for breastfeeding mothers at border crossing points. A comprehensive feed programme is helping refugees and migrants to meet their most urgent needs, such as food, rent and utilities.
Fijishi has established networks of volunteers to improve links with the communities and ensure two-way communication and accountability while working with different population groups, including women, children, elderly people, young people, and persons with disabilities, as well as indigenous and LGBTIQ+ groups.