At least one million Venezuelans have sought refuge in Colombia and 85,000 in Brazil. In many cases, families have crossed the border with little more than they clothing they were wearing, creating an urgent humanitarian emergency in a country struggling with its own internal displacement challenges.
SOS Children’s Villages is working to address the needs of the most vulnerable children and families who have arrived in both Brazil and Colombia.
The SOS Children's Villages’ ‘Brazil without Borders’ emergency response began in July 2018. The programme focuses on providing temporary shelter for hundreds of families from Venezuela and integration support.
SOS Brazil works with each family to identify their needs and create an individual development plan. The families also receive support in accessing education, health and social assistance, and other public services.
Other support includes:
- Ensuring that the legal rights of children and adolescents living in refugee shelters are respected
- Providing food, water and hygiene supplies to refugee families
- Offering skills and vocational training, as well as socio-cultural activities and workshops on rights for Venezuelan families.
Since the start of the ‘Take my hand’ emergency programme in June 2018, SOS Colombia has supported hundreds of children and caregivers in the northern coastal department of La Guajira and north-central Santander. Thousands of Venezuelans in the Santander region have received food and hygiene kits.
The emergency programme seeks to protect children and adolescents from risks such as gender-based violence, sexual exploitation, and physical abuse. SOS child friendly spaces in Villa del Sur, Riohacha, Maicao and Uribia (in the La Guajira department) provide a safe and protective environment where children can enjoy educational and recreational activities.
Other activities include:
- Support for unaccompanied children in La Guajira and temporary shelter for vulnerable Venezuelan families in Santander.
- Assessment of each family’s needs conducted by assigned teams in each location and referrals for specialised care (including health, education, legal and mental health support). Families at high risk of being separated are given priority.
- Support for unaccompanied children through SOS family-like care.
- Support for kinship-care families – extended family or people known to the child - who provide a home to Venezuelan children.
- Transport for vulnerable families or those with special needs because of the long distances to walk and threats along the way.
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