After over 50 years of armed conflict, Colombia has the largest number of displaced people in the world – an alarming 7.3 million people. The number of families and children in Colombia in need has only grown since August 2017 when violence and a severe lack of food and medicine forced millions families to cross the border into Colombia.
A political and economic crisis in Venezuela has caused over 1 million people to cross the border into Colombia. The situation for Venezuelan children crossing the border into Colombia is becoming urgent. Many children crossing the border are unaccompanied, putting them at risk of recruitment by armed groups or exploitation by traffickers. When children arrive in Colombia, they are malnourished and have little access to clean drinking water. And hospitals are overcrowded and lack sufficient resources to deal with the influx.
Our teams are responding to the Venezuelan migrant crisis in two locations on the Colombian-Venezuelan border. We have constructed Child Friendly Spaces so children can have a safe space to play, recover and be children again. We have distributed water filters, solar lights and hygiene kits for families who arrived in Colombia without any possessions.
We have distributed school and teacher kits to support schools with the influx of children they are experiencing. We will also train teachers in classroom management and integration, and help provide emotional support for children after their long journeys.
Brayan, 12, is living in the dusty border town of Maico, Colombia after leaving Venezuela with his parents and five siblings. Maicao is a hotbed of child trafficking, and is now home to thousands of Venezuelan migrants who have been driven out of their country by hunger, extreme poverty and violence.
Brayan's father had a very successful construction business in Venezuela, but lost everything when the economy crashed. After crossing the border into Colombia, Brayan's family was robbed and forced to sleep on the streets for two months. Brayan found the transition to life in Colombia extremely difficult, and was often depressed and argumentative.
Brayan is now going to Save the Children's Child Friendly Space where he plays and has emotional support.
"Brayan has changed since attending the Child Friendly Space. He's become gentler and calmer. He says he needs to be there. The space has changed him 100%."
Donate to our Children's Emergency Fund to help children like Brayan.