Humanitarian Colombia Mission, an undertaking of Fraternidade – International Humanitarian Federation (FIHF), to support the Venezuelan migrants and displaced Colombians, has entered its third month of operation in the city of Cucuta, in the Colombian border with Venezuela.
It is being carried out by twenty volunteers, many of them without previous experience in international humanitarian tasks. They are there impelled by the will to do something, whatever it is, to relieve, even if minimally, the pain of thousands of human beings that feature, against their will, the worst migratory crisis in South-America in the last decades.
“It is shocking to see whole families, with small children, walking on the road without a known destiny, without perspectives, without knowing anyone, without knowing if they will manage to arrive anywhere. And the worst: without knowing until when this nightmare will last”, testifies Bianca Montemovo, 18, a Brazilian volunteer who represents the Missionary Youth for Peace.
She assures she is learning a lot with the missionary experience. “It is very good to give love to those who suffer, because you see that sometimes they only need a greeting, a smile, not to be treated with indifference”, she adds, and then concludes: “I consider it very important that others also dare to come and help”.
The Humanitarian Colombia Mission basically takes place in two Catholic places of assistance to migrants, displaced people and needy families: the Scalabrinian Pilot Center and the Migrations Center. In the first, 4,500 children and teenagers who are outside the educational system receive emergency educational support. The second place functions as a temporary lodging place. The missionaries of Fraternidade help in both places with workshops of manual skills and artisanship, as well as coordinating physical and recreational activities.
“The children spontaneously develop a precious fraternity. Even without asking your name or where you come from, they love you, sharing everything, giving smiles, giving everything they feel and delivering their gratitude, their care, in a hug, a greeting. They really have good manners, and are sensitive, open, communicative”, highlights Enoc, another volunteer.
He says he had the opportunity to sing some Christmas Carrols and that suddenly a very creative wheel arose that became a living manger scene. Enthusiastically, he continues telling that the activity turned out to be magical, because some little ones, who were totally unmotivated, began to sing, clap their hands and completely transform their mood.
Renato Goshima, who also represents the Missionary Youth for Peace, comments that in the Migrations Center it is possible to see kids who remain more joyful, more centered in the daily activities, whereas the adults, although they become distracted by the artisanal work they do, cannot help by worry for the uncertainty that will return to their lives when the deadline of permanence in the lodging place is fulfilled.
Migration would doublé in 2019
The missionaries accompany the migrants from Mondays to Fridays, in the morning. They occupy the rest of the time with activities of missionary formation and physical training, walks of 15 to 20 km, maintenance of the house where they are lodged, preparation of the workshops they will conduct on the following day, spiritual exercises and rest.
Until November, the number of Venezuelans who had left the economic, political and social crisis that affects their country already summed three million in the whole world, according to data informed by the IOM (International Organization for Migration) and the UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees). Of this number, 2.3 million survive as they can in different South-American countries, with Colombia as the main receptor, with more than one million migrants. According to these multilateral organizations, in 2019 Venezuelan emigration is expected to double.
To collaborate with the Humanitarian Colombia Mission,