Assistance to Venezuelan and Colombian Kids is one of the streams of the missionary service that Fraternidade – International Humanitarian Federation, is developing in Humanitarian Colombia Mission.
The task is being developed in Cucuta, Northern Colombia, in the border with Venezuela. A group of 15 volunteers conducts it, including members of the Network-of-Light of Colombia, missionaries of Fraternidade and members of the Missionary Youth for Peace.
In this border city functions an educational institution, of communitarian character, attended by the Scalabrinian Congregation. There, hundreds of Venezuelan kids who do not find opportunities in the Colombian educational system, due to lack of vacancies, receive basic education and care. The place is also frequented by children of needy Colombian families, which have returned from Venezuela or have been displaced by the armed conflicts of the guerrilla.
The alternative space has a collection of toys and a library, offers workshops and receives 4,500 students, of whom 800 are victims of internal displacements and 300 are Venezuelan, according to data retrieved in the place. The educational sector is one of the several services that the Scalabrinian Pilot Center of Camilo Daza neighborhood, in Cucuta, offers to the migrants and needy families, impelled by father Francesco Bortignon.
Accompaniment of kids
Humanitarian Colombia Mission cooperates, from Monday to Friday, with school support in Mathematics, languages, sciences, and other subjects. It also coordinates physical activities, manual and playful activities and those of education in values and hygiene.
The main task is an accompaniment and emotional support. “The service mainly consists of being with these kids, talking with them, understanding them and trying to inspire them to seek something more, however small it seems. The kids perceive that we are there wholeheartedly, to share, to help, and they quickly begin to trust. So, a silent and mysterious work gradually takes place, based on love”, highlights Friar Zacarias, one of the monastics of Grace Mercy Order who accompany the mission.
The target group is quite big and diverse, both in ages – from 3 years old to 15-year-old adolescents – and in life stories.
The pilot center also fulfills the role of nursery, so that their parents may have the possibility of leaving to work and provide for their material sustenance.
“We try to always be attentive to the smallest details and ready to immediately help in what is necessary”, shares Alessandra Mello Parreira, one of the humanitarian missionaries. As an example, she comments the experience she had with one of the minors whom she was able to help so that they could receive opportune medical assistance: he was particularly quiet, I came close to make some questions to him and try to discover the reason; after several attempts, I got to know he had vomited early, so I put him in contact with a doctor of the Red Cross who was giving support in the place and informed the person in charge. The kid turned out to be with a sore throat”.
Humanitarian Colombia Mission is the second initiative of Fraternidade – International Humanitarian Federation, that tries to relieve the pain of the population that is forced to abandon Venezuela, due to the difficult conditions that this country lives. It began last October 11, with the intention of becoming another permanent space of help and of radiation of peace.
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