Venezuelan Response

An emergency response programme to uphold the safety and promote livelihood opportunities of Venezuelan refugee children in Colombia.

What is happening in Venezuela?

Venezuela - once the richest country in South America - is now in a state of near-collapse. In 2013, the death of president - and advocate of the poor - Hugo Chavez plunged the country into large-scale political and economic crisis.

The government of his successor Nicolas Maduro continues to maintain a polarising stance on democracy. And - beset by plummeting oil prices and social distress - the country has seen the wealth and liberty it previously enjoyed disappear.

The recent power struggle with Maduro’s Western-backed challenger Juan Guaido has seen a surge in tensions and violence. Venezuela is in turmoil. Borders are closed and attempts to deliver relief supplies have been refused.

Large influx of refugees

Violations of human rights, corruption and major food shortages are just some of the factors that have forced families to flee. The Colombian capital Bogota has welcomed the largest number of refugees in recent months.

These refugees are denied humanitarian aid and access to basic health services. They stay in some of the poorest neighbourhoods, governed by armed and criminal groups.

Women and children are at risk of sexual abuse, forced prostitution, physical violence and human trafficking. Fearing discrimination and exile, victims are reluctant to report incidents.

War Child TeamUp in Colombia - meisje steekt tong uit

We implement sports and play activities so that children can learn to process their experiences

Photo: War Child

“To the Venezuelan leaders I would like to say: solve it!"
Tjipke Bergsma, War Child Managing Director

What we do

War Child has been actively responding to the needs of Colombian children since 2006. In Bogota and surrounding rural areas we help those who have suffered from years of civil war and gang violence.

Protect, address, support

Our Venezuelan Response extends our reach in the country. The programme is designed to support the most vulnerable refugee families in rebuilding their lives.

We provide protection training so that children and adults are aware of the dangers and challenges they may face - as well as their fundamental rights. Our local team identifies children who are at increased risk and provides specialised support.

War Child also helps young Venezuelans fight for a brighter future. We assist them in finding work and livelihood opportunities.

We implement sports and play activities so that children can learn to process their experiences. In this safe environment they can begin to process feelings of anger, fear and sadness. We guide them through this transition with focused psychosocial support which serves to strengthen their resilience.