April 7 2022

Fundación sembrar welcomes displaced venezuelan families

AVSI-USA’s long term partner in Quito helps vulnerable Ecuadorians and Venezuelans with family and child support services after COVID-19

Cindy Gonzalez, 32, is from Venezuela. She is living now in Pisulí, a poor remote village on the outskirts of Quito, with her husband, her mother-in-law, and her two daughters: Isabella, 3, and Ivana, 6 months. Cindy arrived in Ecuador with her family three years ago. Like most Venezuelan migrants in Ecuador, she and her husband have informal jobs, the type of unstable work that makes up a large part of the economy in developing countries. She promotes beauty products, and he sells food items on the street. Cindy says that the situation reached a breaking point back home when their first daughter was born. 

“We decided to leave Venezuela when Isabella was born. We were working as teachers, but my last paycheck was barely enough to buy a pack of diapers.”

In neighborhoods like Pisulí, limited social services are available. Even before the pandemic it was difficult to find care for infants and toddlers, and when COVID hit, many public and private daycare centers closed altogether. Things are even worse for migrants who, without proper documentation, have trouble accessing public services. Luckily, Fundación Sembrar, AVSI-USA long term partner, was there to help vulnerable Ecuadorian and Venezuelan parents alike with family and child support services.  Cindy began to attend the early childhood development program at Fundación Sembrar when Isabella was two years old. At the time, Isabella spoke only a few words, was still in diapers, and would scribble wildly. For her part, Cindy was very timid.

Cindy learns to work with her young daughter in Sembrar’s home-school training for parents

One of Fundación Sembrar’s family counselors, Katy, stayed in close communication with Cindy, especially during the pandemic lockdowns. It was during this time that Cindy began to open up about her needs, which in turn enabled Sembrar to address the family’s situation in a more sustainable way 

“We had no income at all, and it was very tough. We had to go out and sell food in the street, but it wasn’t profitable. Luckily, our landlady treated us well. She gave us a few months extension on rent, but she had to offer us a smaller apartment. We had no money for food or household items. The food kits we received from Fundación Sembrar really saved us.”

Amid these difficulties, Cindy kept teaching her daughter with help from Sembrar’s home-school program that supports parents as they work with children. Isabella really enjoyed making the educational videos with Cindy that measured her progress. Today, Cindy feels comfortable around the other mothers from the group and is able to share her experiences – both good and bad. Isabella, thanks to her mother’s commitment and dedication, has developed her spoken vocabulary, fine motor abilities, and social skills.  

"The experience with the home-schooling group has been enriching. I have not been able to enroll my child in the formal education system yet, but the home-school program really helped her grow. Isabella has come a long way. Now she speaks a lot and expresses herself well. She asks me to take her to the center saying ‘Mommy, I want to see my friends.’ I am a primary school teacher, but I didn’t know how to deal with younger children. With Katy's support, I have learned early education strategies and how to apply them. It’s not the same to explain something to a 7-year-old boy as it is to a 2-year-old girl. I believe that Sembrar’s home-school program even helps me to be a better mom, especially in the way I talk to Isabella and correct her. Because with so many worries I can get cranky and scold her, but then I have to remember that she’s just a child."

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