– October 11 2019
When will I eat? Does anybody care?
Children and families are fleeing from Venezuela to Colombia—but it's a risky trip.
It’s a humanitarian crisis. Since 2014, more than four million people have fled political turmoil in Venezuela to start new lives in Colombia—and 80% of them are women and children. The number of refugees and migrants increased by one million since last November and is expected to reach more than five million by the end of 2019.
Children are often forced to flee alone. Their little feet walk hundreds of miles through vast, unfamiliar landscapes. They’re tired, hungry and scared.
The most vulnerable migrants are those in transit, taking the land route by foot and living in temporary, informal settlements. Often traveling by themselves, an estimated 320,000 Venezuelan children are at risk for abuse, sexual exploitation, trafficking and forced recruitment by armed groups.
Their every moment is overwhelmed by fear and uncertainty. When will I eat? Where can I sleep tonight? Will anyone hurt me today? Does anybody care?
Migrant children feel invisible.
You can help us make sure the suffering of these children doesn’t go unseen. Teams from SOS Children’s Villages Colombia are on the ground in the most critical zones at the Venezuelan border providing emergency response for people who request refuge in Colombia or are in transit to other countries.
Your support addresses these children’s most urgent needs. In Santander and Nariño, we offer temporary shelter, food and hygiene supplies, and transport pregnant women and families with children from border crossings to reception centers. SOS also works with other partners to ensure that Venezuelan families have greater access to health, education and legal and social services. Child-friendly spaces and family-friendly zones in La Guajira and Norte de Santander are safe havens for children to learn and play, reducing the risk of exploitation. And we work tirelessly to reunite children separated from their families whenever possible.
Vulnerable families are extremely grateful for the relief provided by SOS. Jairo, a father who received SOS support in Nariño, proclaimed: “SOS has been for us an oasis in the middle of the desert, because they have treated us so nice. I have been able to see my children smile again, after so many days.”
Angela Rosales, National Director of SOS Children’s Villages Colombia, explains:
“For us at SOS Children’s Villages Colombia, it is vital that Venezuelan migrant children receive timely and adequate attention. We want them to find within our care some of the things they had to leave back at home: their toys, their friends, but mainly a loving home. This will make it possible for them to live their childhood to its fullest and free of any kind of violence and risk. At the same time, we do our best to help them build happy memories, despite the adverse context and the hardships they have gone through. As such, we consider that their well-being, protection and right to live in a family are a priority, beyond any political or social opinion."
Children migrating from Venezuela to Colombia are practically invisible—but they deserve to be seen. Let’s work together to make sure these children are visible.