Last Friday we finally started our Project!
More than 100 Venezuelans, including mothers, children, and a couple of fathers met with me and the team of Bethany, an NGO that has worked with migrants since the start of the crisis in the border. With Bethany, I designed the content of the activities and with their professional expertise we came to design a booklet that we are handing to each Venezuelan adult that comes to our program. This booklet includes not only the basic information about the project but, perhaps more importantly, information about how Venezuelan migrants can enforce their basic human rights in Colombia. We are providing information on how to take kids to school, how to visit a physician, and how to take care of their children and themselves in a context that presents threats of exploitation, hunger and sickness.
The first day was a success! We managed to secure a room in the Mayor office in Bogotá, and we offered not only a safe-space for the kids to play with volunteers and psychologists, but also several information sessions for the parents. With the money of the project, I bought food for them and also basic hygiene kits for them to take care of the first days of their migration journey in Colombia. With the help of two of Colombia’s biggest companies, BBVA-Colombia and RAMO, the project got school kits and refreshments and water for the assistants.
The aim of the International House is to be a Home to the World. This project has proved to be a realization of that spirit in the terribly unfair context of the Venezuelan migration in Colombia. Speaking with mothers who have arrived to Colombia in the last couple of weeks with all their belongings, leaving some of their relatives (parents and children), and looking for a better future, has been an amazing experience for me. Mothers and kids were incredibly kind and supportive of the project. They enjoyed it and told us that they will be using the information and supplies in their daily live. By teaching them their rights and the opportunities they have in Colombia, the project is looking to foster peace by hospitality in the near future.
Our next activity will be this Friday on a small town near Bogotá. We will work with more than one hundred persons and I am going to try to interview one of the mothers in order to share her courage and her migration experiences with you.