NEWS

February 11, 2020

what would you do if you had to flee your country and leave everything behind?

Due to the ongoing crisis in Venezuela, Diana had to leave her country. She one of the first Venezuelan refugees AVSI met in Alluriquín, where AVSI Ecuador is implementing Activados, a project fostering local integration and peaceful coexistence between refugees and the host community

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Eduardo Stein,  Joint Special Representative for Venezuelan refugees and migrants (IOM – UNHCR) recently stated that “in the coming year, it is projected that the total number of Venezuelan refugees and migrants worldwide will increase from 4.5 million in October 2019 to 6.5 million in December 2020, nearly 85% of whom will be found in the region”. In addition, there are millions of people in transit, like those who have to cross the border to meet basic needs, as well as refugees and migrants who were living in Venezuela and who are now returning to their countries of origin.

To address this unprecedented refugee and migrant crisis in the Latin America and the Caribbean region, AVSI Ecuador is now expanding the reach of ACTIVADOS, funded by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), to foster local integration, peaceful coexistence and to protect Venezuelan refugees and migrants.

Along with our activities in Manabí, AVSI Ecuador is operating in the capital Quito and two towns in the Santo Domingo de los Tsáchilas province (Santo Domingo and Alluriquín). AVSI is identifying a couple of neighborhoods per area where there is a significant number of Venezuelan refugees and migrants to help them find decent accommodation. AVSI is also supporting the host communities, especially the most vulnerable, to address their own pre-existing needs. AVSI works to strengthen existing community networks involved in the integration process, collaborating with partners from the humanitarian, development, public and private sectors.

Once a soldier in Venezuela, Diana had to migrate to Ecuador with her two young children, because of the ongoing crisis.

Diana

Venezuelan refugee

Today she works in a small bar near her new home in Alluriquín.

Diana

Venezuelan refugee

In order to bartend at night, Diana needs to leave her children Ordanys and Odamyer with other Venezuelan families.

Diana

Venezuelan refugee

Pictured here is an ordinary evening, Ordanys and Odamyer have just finished showering in the building’s public bathroom.

DIana

Venezuelan refugee

A small and old mattress. That’s all Diana and her two children had when they moved to Alluriquín, Ecuador. She managed to cover the rent from her bartending salary, but did not have money for anything else.

Diana

Venezuelan refugee

Now, thanks to the help of AVSI and UNHCR, Diana and her children have beds, mattresses, pillows, blankets, and basic furniture.

Diana

Venezuelan refugee

Everyday Diana arrives at the bar at 5pm, "I have to take care of everything here, from serving drinks, work at the cash register, DJing, and even handling drunk clients. When it's time to close the bar, I do that too. But honestly, I don't mind, I'm glad that the owner trusts me so much. I believe that he trusts me because I used to be a soldier in Venezuela. If you can be a woman soldier there, you can handle pretty much anything."

Diana

Venezuelan refugee

Ordanys (right, in a flower dress) is 6 years old and wants to be a police officer when she grows up. "My mum used to be a soldier in Venezuela, but she had to leave with us. I want to go back home and do the same thing that my mum used to do!" Her friend, Kellymar, is also Venezuelan and met Ordanys in the building where they are living. "I want to work with computers and cell phones. I think it's great to have little machines that you can use to connect with anywhere in the world!".

Diana

Venezuelan refugee