OS Children’s Villages is mobilising to help children and families from Venezuela who have sought refuge in the country.
Venezuela – 23 August 2018

Venezuelan child refugees in need of homes and schooling in Brazil

SOS Children’s Villages has launched an emergency relief programme in Brazil to provide for the housing, education and basic needs of Venezuelan children and families who have sought refuge in the country.

Temporary accommodation is being made available for 600 displaced children and carers within the charity’s village communities in Goiore and Igarassu. SOS Children’s Villages will also be working to ensure that children in government shelters have their basic needs for food, water and sanitation met and are enrolled in school.

A crippling four year recession in Venezuela, which has seen families left destitute by rampant inflation of 1 million percent a year, has displaced 1.5 million people in the past 12 months. Many have sought refuge in Brazil and Colombia.

The Brazilian government estimates that 800 Venezuelans are arriving in the country each day. The nine Government operated shelters along the border are reaching capacity and there is an urgent need for housing for incoming families and access to education for children and adolescents.

SOS Children’s Villages Emergency Response Coordinator for Brazil, Sergio Marques said: “Many Venezuelan families have already faced grave hardships before they arrive in Brazil. They urgently need safe and adequate housing and education must be prioritised for children and adolescents. If the situation continues, adults will need support to find employment, so they can meet the needs of their families.

“There is evidence of growing prejudice against Venezuelans, particularly in Boa Vista, where an estimated 40,000 Venezuelans are now living. Reducing tensions between the migrant and host communities requires the provision of housing, employment and access to education for incoming families. This is the only way to lessen overcrowding and the impact upon social services which is responsible for much of the community friction.”

SOS Children’s Villages will be supporting Venezuelan families with a range of social and economic services, including:

  • Promoting access to education and ensuring children are enrolled in school
  • Providing temporary accommodation for displaced families
  • Ensuring the rights of children in government shelters are upheld, in accordance with national laws
  • Offering Portuguese language lessons for children and adults
  • Ensuring families have access to sufficient food, water and sanitation to meet their basic needs
  • Helping families gain access to health care

An emergency response programme for Venezuelan children and families has also been launched in Colombia, where children are struggling to find access to shelter, food and health services.

You can donate to our emergency relief work for Venezuelan refugees here.

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Notes to editors:
For media enquiries please contact Lucy Prioli at Lucy.Prioli@sosuk.org or on 01223 222 974.