Humanitarian Project

United4Change Center (U4C) is proud to join the Hope For Venezuelan Refugees Project, a humanitarian project responding to the food insecurity affecting thousands of Venezuelan refugees, migrants, and walkers “caminantes” in Colombia led by Rotarian Cristal Montañéz Baylor from the Rotary e-Club of Houston. Entire families continue to flee Venezuela to escape violence, lack of job opportunities, food scarcity, lack of medicine, and essential services. The Venezuelan refugee exodus has become one of the biggest crises in the hemisphere and the world (UNHCR), second only to Syria.

Image by Diario El Tiempo
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THE CHALLENGE

Access to food continues to be a priority for Venezuelan refugees, migrants, and walkers “caminantes” in Colombia.  Every day, thousands of Venezuelan children, women, and men are forced to flee their country due to the devastating economic and humanitarian crisis resulting in the largest exodus in Latin America’s recent history and one of the world’s largest external displacements. Without money to buy food or medicines, most Venezuelans suffer from severe hunger, and many are dying from preventable diseases and malnutrition.  The COVID-19 pandemic has worsened the food insecurity among vulnerable Venezuelans. Children, women, the elderly, and the sick are the most affected by this complex humanitarian emergency. The challenge and the number one priority to save lives, is to ensure that Venezuelans have access to food.   The World Food Program (WFP) of the United Nations stated, “the primary drivers for migration are the lack of access to food, employment, medicine, and functioning health services.” 
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ABOUT THE PROJECT

The Hope For Venezuelan Refugees is a humanitarian project created to help alleviate hunger affecting thousands of vulnerable Venezuelan refugees, migrants, walkers “caminantes,” and Colombian returnees on the Cúcuta-Pamplona route. With the support and donation of Rise Against Hunger (RAH) meals and locally produced commodities provided to existing food distribution centers and shelters, volunteers prepare, cook, and distribute meals for this migrant population.

Thanks to this Project, more 859,000 meals have been distributed to this migrant population through the selected food distribution centers since the its inception in January 2019 through March 2021. Personal protection equipment (PPE), portable handwash stations, face masks, cleaning, and disinfectant supplies are being distributed as part of our efforts to help prevent the propagation of COVID-19 on the Cúcuta-Pamplona humanitarian route. The Hope For Venezuelan Refugees project was initiated by the Rotary e-Club of Houston, in partnership with the Rotary Club of Cúcuta, other Rotary Clubs, Rise Against Hunger (RAH), and allied organizations, that joined efforts to implement, facilitate, and manage the project.

Impact Report Phase 1 & 2

Impact Report Phase 2

Impact Report Phase 3

Impact Report Phase 4

U4C is proud to join the Hope For Venezuelan Refugees team to support the continuation of the Project and the Venezuelan refugees fundamental human right of access to food.

Photos & Videos by volunteers.
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HOW YOU CAN HELP

The Hope For Venezuelan Refugees team is initiating a new phase (Phase 5) of the Project to continue alleviating hunger affecting Venezuelan refugees, migrants, and walkers “caminantes” in-transit through the Cúcuta-Pamplona humanitarian route. Our volunteers on the ground are working tirelessly to respond to this emergency; however, our efforts are very limited, and a larger-scale intervention is urgently needed due to the magnitude of the crisis.

We cannot do this alone. Your donation can provide nutritional “soup meals” to hundreds of walkers “caminantes” at Food Distributions Centers that need the most.

Photos & Videos by volunteers.

What is a Refugee?
A refugee is someone who has been forced to flee his or her country because of persecution, war or violence. A refugee has a well-founded fear of persecution for reasons of race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership in a particular social group. Most likely, they cannot return home or are afraid to do so. War and ethnic, tribal and religious violence are leading causes of refugees fleeing their countries.  68% of those displaced across borders come from just five countries: Syria, Venezuela, Afghanistan, South Sudan and Myanmar.  (Source: The UN Refugee Agency UNHCR)
Refugees Globally
79.5 million individuals have been forcibly displaced worldwide as a result of persecution, conflict, violence or human rights violations. We are now witnessing the highest levels of displacement on record. (Source: The UN Refugee Agency UNHCR)
Venezuela
Venezuelans continue to struggle to survive in a country suffering the worst political and economic crisis in history. The shortage of food and medicine, lack of essential services such as electricity, water, propane gas, and vehicular gasoline, and the hospital system is collapsed. The unprecedented monthly minimum wage of 1.61 USD per month is not enough for a family to buy 2 pounds of meat or a carton of eggs. The unemployment rate is 35.5 percent and 6.5 thousand percent inflation rate, as reported by the International Monetary Fund in October 2020, the majority of Venezuelans live in extreme poverty and misery.
Venezuelans in Colombia
Colombia continued to be the country most impacted by the arrival of refugees and migrants from Venezuela, hosting the largest portion of people. By the end of 2015, Colombia hosted less than 40,000 Venezuelans, a number that has grown more than 3,500%, reaching 1.4 million by August 201965, with an increase of almost 300,000 refugees and migrants in the first seven months of the year. Similarly, in 2019 nearly 500,000 refugees and migrants transited through Colombia towards Ecuador66. Additionally, more than half a million Colombian nationals returned from Venezuela by August 201967, which represents an increase from the 350,000 returnees by the end of 2018. (Source: Response for Venezuelans R4V)
The Priority
According to the Grupo Interagerencial sobre Flujos Migratorios Mixtos’ (GIFMM) in Colombia: “Caminantes have little access to regular and diverse diets during their journey. Along the road they receive food from host communities and civil society, as well as from assistance points in host countries run by UN agencies and NGOs, where they are given food, multipurpose vouchers, and energy kits, though access to aid is limited (GIFMM 09/10/2020).

Although not representative, in Colombia, 85% of people in transit (which includes caminantes) surveyed by GIFMM said that their principal need was food (GIFMM last accessed 22/12/2020).  Approximately 33% of people in transit surveyed for a REACH rapid needs assessment said they had to skip one meal a day, 35% responded that they skipped two, and 10% said they had less than one meal a day (REACH 24/10/2020)

HAPPENING NOW

The Crossing

The Crossing

The CrossingBy U4C Team The Crossing is a documentary telling the story of the Venezuelan crisis and the small boarder city willing to help, Cucuta.  (From www.thecrossingdoc.com) by Juliana Penaranda-Loftus U4C has partnered with Hope For Venezuelan Refugees Project,...

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Hope For Venezuelan Refugees Project

Hope For Venezuelan Refugees Project

Hope For Venezuelan Refugees ProjectBy U4C Team Approximately five million[1] refugees and migrants have left Venezuela as a result of the political turmoil, socio-economic instability and the ongoing humanitarian crisis – triggering the largest external displacement...

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