Safety and dignity along the way to stability

Photographer: © UNHCR/Santiago Escobar-Jaramillo

5.4 million Venezuelans have embarked on a strenuous journey towards stability and a better life.

On their way toward safety, they must rely on services provided by temporary accommodation spaces (EATs – espacios de alojamiento temporal) and Comprehensive Social Care Points (PASIs). Once they cross over into Brazil, Colombia, Peru, or any of the 17 countries that host Venezuelan migrants and refugees in the region, families are received in transit centres. Some migrants and refugees can relocate to other cities in hope of establishing roots and building a better life with more opportunities. Relocated migrants are a minority, and even more so during the pandemic.

In 2020 alone, around 140,000 Venezuelans returned home due to lack of assistance, movement restrictions across states, employment opportunities and inability to access health and other basic services. Along the way to safety, these people require health, protection and education support. This is especially the case for vulnerable groups: women, children and indigenous populations. Humanitarian organizations provide services along the way and provide this life-saving care.

Thousands of Better Shelter RHUs are deployed along this path from Venezuela to neighbouring countries to provide shelter, protection, health services and education for Venezuelans and host populations.

Photographer: © UNHCR/Nicolo Filippo Rosso

Modular design across sectors

5 500+ Better Shelter RHUs have been deployed in more than 15 countries in Latin America and serve as:

  • Temporary shelter
  • Extension of PASIs shelter space
  • COVID-19 quarantine and triage units
  • Medical consultation rooms
  • COVID-19 testing spaces
  • Patient waiting rooms
  • Infrastructure for psychosocial support activities
  • Information spaces
  • Storage of medical equipment
  • Temporary learning spaces
  • Child-friendly spaces
Photographer: © Fraternity – International Humanitarian Missions (FIHM)

Shelter

The Better Shelter RHU serves as

  • Temporary shelter in transit centers
  • Extra dormitory space to facilitate decongestion
  • Extension of PASIs shelter space
  • Temporary shelter to people affected by storms

Locations

Brazil, Colombia, Guatemala, Honduras, Venezuela.

Photographer: © UNHCR/Jaime Giménez

A crumbling health system forces people to flee

Millions of Venezuelans have emigrated partly due to the country’s crumbling health system.

Shortages in medications and health supplies, interruptions in the provision of basic healthcare services, and the departure of many healthcare professionals from the country,  forced people to seek healthcare abroad.

Displaced populations are exposed to grave health risks in the search for a better life.

Adding to the challenges that existed prior to the pandemic, lockdown and movement restrictions have aggravated the difficulties in accessing healthcare and have contributed to increased needs for Venezuelans and their host communities.

The rise in evictions due to lost income and crowded temporary shelters have left refugees and migrants unable to follow social distancing measures, which resulted in mental distress and increased exposure to infectious diseases.

Photographer: © UNHCR/Jaime Giménez

Health

The Better Shelter RHU serves as

  • Isolation and triage areas
  • Medical consultation rooms
  • COVID-19 testing spaces
  • Patient waiting rooms
  • Information and orientation spaces
  • Support to intensive care units
  • Storage of medical equipment
  • Changing rooms for medical staff

Locations

Aruba, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Peru, Venezuela.

Photographer: © UNHCR/Santiago Escobar-Jaramillo

Growing protection needs

During the COVID-19 outbreak, many Latin American and Caribbean countries have closed borders and banned non-resident foreigners from entering their territories.

Movement restrictions have further limited Venezuelan displaced communities to access livelihood opportunities and impacted their coping and survival mechanisms.

The loss of jobs and incomes lead to serious protection challenges and increased debts. Forced evictions have left refugees and migrants and other vulnerable groups living on the streets and facing instances of discrimination and xenophobia.

This dire situation has forced some to consider returning to Venezuela despite worsening health and economic conditions. Spontaneous returns through irregular entry/exit points increase the risks of exposure to gender-based violence (GBV), sexual exploitation, human trafficking and abuse particularly for women and other vulnerable groups.  Significant increases in GBV cases have been reported in the region during the pandemic.

Photographer: © UNHCR/Nicolo Filippo Rosso

Protection

The Better Shelter RHU serves as

  • Space for Child Protection activities
  • Spaces for psychosocial support for GBV survivors
  • Spaces for psychosocial support for natural catastrophe survivors
  • Shelter and communal infrastructure for indigenous populations

Locations

Aruba, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru

Photographer: © IKEA Indonesia

Education and child development in displacement

A large parcel of Venezuelan migrants and refugees are school-age children who have interrupted their education as a result of migration.

The extent to which the local public schools can absorb these children is key for the ability of migrants, and locals alike to develop skills and invest in human capital.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and according to UNESCO, 100% of the Venezuelan children and adolescents who were enrolled in their host countries are currently out of school and without a certain return.

The interruption of learning has also spread among children and adolescents who had already had their studies interrupted when they started their displacement. There are also those who, despite being enrolled in educational centers in their host countries, due to confinement, have not been able to begin their school year, losing contact with their educational communities.

The Better Shelter RHU serves as

  • Classrooms
  • Learning centers
  • Child-friendly spaces
Photographer: © UNHCR/Allana Ferreira

Contact us

Learn more about how Better Shelter can support your organization. Para saber más sobre cómo Better Shelter puede apoyar a su organización. Para saber mais sobre como o Better Shelter pode apoiar sua organização.

Spanish, English / Español, Inglés / Espanhol, Inglês

Lucia Arias Kapetinic, Partnerships Manager, South and Latin America

Portuguese / Portugués / Português

Marcela Neves, Communications Coordinator