RACING and raising AWARENESS of the Venezuelan Refugee Crisis
Supporting IsraAID in their relief work for refugees
We will be starting racing today in the Tour Colombia 2.1, a grueling six-stage race in this beautiful country, a nation with a passion for cycling like no other.
But we see our presence in Colombia as an opportunity to raise awareness of a humanitarian crisis and the relief efforts by an Israeli humanitarian aid agency, IsraAID.
With the humanitarian crisis in Venezuela raging, 4.7 million people have left the country in the largest mass displacement in Latin America’s recent history. Over 1.6 million are now living in neighboring Colombia, with as many as 5,000 crossing the border daily. In May 2019, IsraAID launched its response to this ongoing emergency. Today, IsraAID’s team is working with displaced Venezuelans and the Colombian host community in the northern city of Barranquilla.
During the next week, we and our riders, headed by Colombian Edwin Avila, will try to raise awareness for the Venezuelan refugees in Colombia with posts and the hashtag #IsraAIDColombia2020.
You are invited to visit https://colombiaisraaid.lpages.co/ to help.
IsraAID launched its initial work in Colombia in May 2019, with an Emergency Response team arriving in the border city of Cúcuta to assess needs and distribute relief items to newly arrived Venezuelans. Hygiene kits were distributed to 500 families – more than 2,000 people – in partnership with a local organization of Venezuelans based in Cúcuta.
Following a comprehensive needs assessment, IsraAID’s team relocated its mission from Cúcuta to Barranquilla, where few international organizations had launched activities and where newly arrived Venezuelans tend to settle more permanently than in Cúcuta, which is generally the first point of entry rather than a destination. In Barranquilla, IsraAID has focused on supporting children unable to access formal education. Up to 80% of Venezuelan children in Barranquilla are not attending school.
What is IsraAID doing in Barranquilla?
IsraAID has established two child-friendly spaces in the area, in partnership with local groups. Daily activities at each center provide developmentally appropriate activities, following a social and emotional learning curriculum used by IsraAID with displaced children around the world and adapted for the local context. IsraAID and our partner Techo built the physical structure of the center in La Playa, with volunteers from the refugee and host communities. IsraAID also established a Child-Friendly Space in partnership with Cedesocial in Ville Selene, near the city’s bus station, which is where most Venezuelans arrive in the city.
IsraAID’s centers serve both Venezuelan and Colombian children. Many members of the Colombian host community are themselves either IDPs or returned refugees, whose families were displaced during the country’s long civil conflict. Community members facilitate the activities at both centers after extensive training by IsraAID’s mental health and child protection professionals.
IsraAID is an independent non-governmental organization and Israel’s leading humanitarian aid agency. Its mission is to support people affected by humanitarian crises. It partners with local communities around the world to provide urgent aid, assist recovery, and build a more resilient future. To date, it has worked in 52 countries worldwide.
IsraAID’s professionals draw upon Israel’s unique pool of expertise to design high-quality, cost-effective, and innovative programming that reflects both the immediate and long-term needs of communities affected by disasters worldwide. After an immediate crisis is over, many emergency response organizations move on. IsraAID doesn’t. Its teams design all programs to utilize community strengths to create long-term, lasting change.
ISN lineup for Tour Colombia :