Week of Compassion partner Church World Service (CWS) notes that in the last four years, more than one-and-a-half million Venezuelans have fled their country in what is now the “largest humanitarian crisis and exodus in Western Hemisphere history.” Martin Coria,CWS staff member, says “Most Venezuelan migrants are escaping a collapsed economy (1.000.000 annual inflation!) where buying nutritious food and medicines, access to health care and meeting basic needs is increasingly difficult… I heard many testimonies of Venezuelans who even after working all week full-time could not afford to buy one day´s nutritious meal for their family.” Complicating the situation is that most of these migrants have fled to Colombia, a country that itself has experienced its own challenges in recent years, including war and violence, human rights violations, internal displacement, and poverty.
Week of Compassion is responding to this plight in several ways, particularly assisting those Colombian families who are taking in displaced Venezuelans, despite their own struggles. In the border town of Saravena, a carefully designed humanitarian assistance and support project is directly serving five hundred Venezuelan migrants with vouchers for both food and hygiene, as well as livelihood support through the purchase of needed tools for migrants to work. In addition, families receive micro-business development training, and women and girls receive counseling on gender-based violence and access to legal and psychosocial support services. These programs are making a huge difference in the lives of these migrant families!
Of his recent visit to Saravena, Martin Coria says, “I am grateful for the Colombian host families, most of whom were displaced themselves, whose countless acts of kindness towards their new neighbors inspire me… I’m grateful for the supporting members of CWS who – once again! – responded quickly and compassionately to an invitation to join this ecumenical response. In a world and region increasingly polarized and divided, we are united in putting dignity and compassion first.”
Amen! Through your partnership and prayers, you are continuing to help put dignity and compassion first. Thank you!
Update on Hurricane Michael
We are still monitoring the devastation caused by Hurricane Michael. Our partners at Children’s Disaster Services have deployed two child-care teams to Panama City, and we are providing support for distribution of food, water, and basic supplies through Primera Iglesia Cristiana in Fort Walton Beach, FL. We have also developed a Worship Resources page that you may find helpful in times of disaster; you can find that page here: