The Hope of Return
Stories from Venezuelan Refugees
Giselle and her husband have one baby girl, Camilla, and are expecting a second daughter. About a year ago, lack of access to food and medicine forced them to leave their beloved home country of Venezuela.
The small family travelled over 1,000 kilometres to Cartagena, Colombia. This long, painful journey is one that thousands of Venezuelans have experienced, leaving many of them with wounds and poor health since it has become too expensive to travel by car or bus.
Giselle’s front yard is enclosed by a metal fence with an industrial complex on one side. Although it is often sunny, rain brings toxic chemicals from the field into their soil, and the metal fence does nothing to keep these chemicals away.
Chemicals, a dusty atmosphere, and water that gives every child parasites are all factors that make it impossible to maintain a sanitary, healthy environment for families.
As a caring mother, Giselle worries deeply about the well-being of her young daughter and new baby. Giselle expressed her family’s profound desire to return to the place where they feel most at home.
Once the community’s food program begins, Camilla will receive meals. Giselle hopes to benefit from the pre- and post-natal care that will be available to provide her baby with the best possible health and well-being. Consequently, these services will lend the family comfort through the provision of these basic needs.
Partnered with Tearfund, Ceiba Church in Barranquilla is home to this type of feeding program. With the help of hundreds of generous Canadians, the church invites families living in the slums to send their children for meals, providing for two hundred children daily from 11am-1pm.
The program is staffed by volunteers, about half of whom are Venezuelan refugees. Not only does this keep a well-running program, it provides mothers with a place to gain marketable skills they can integrate into their lives in Colombia.
Beyond providing nutrition, the church also offers health and referral services as well as counselling for women to give them emotional support. These women have lost everything and are striving to care for their families in unclean conditions, and need to be reminded of the hope that is found in Christ – a hope that can be present in every country and situation.
You can help provide this hope as Tearfund continues to partner with local Colombian churches to feed over 600 children daily. We need compassionate partners like you now more than ever before.
You’re invited to a journey of hope, reflection, and inspiration during this Advent Season! By signing up below, you will receive a short devotional each day of Advent directly to your inbox, helping you prepare your heart as we approach Christmas. Sign-up today!