By Martin Fuentes, CARE Ecuador
Milangela is from Portuguesa, a city in the North-West Venezuela. This is her second week in Ecuador. She is a single mother traveling with her children: Joangely who is 9 years old, and Matías, a baby of 11 months. Milangela is one of the 1.5 million Venezuelans who have fled their country over the past year as a result of high levels of violence, lack of food, medicine and access to essential social services in Venezuela.
Milanglela with her children and two other Venezuelans, are travelling together. Photo: Fuentes/CARE
She used to work in poultry farming but as the living conditions deteriorated day by day and since what she earned was not enough to feed her children, she was forced to leave the country without any savings. “My children survived the long trip thanks to the charity of the passers-by.”
She managed to find the way to Ecuador by asking advice from people she met on the way about the best route. Sometimes she was lucky to travel by bus, if the driver was kind enough to let them take the ride for free. But the worse times of the journey came when they reached Bogota. Milangela told us she had to sleep rough with her children for many nights. Together with other refugees, they spent a few nights in Bogota near a gas station. She explained that to protect each other they are sleeping in big groups of people.
“In Bogota, it was really cold. I was worried for my children and I felt very bad also because of the way people treated us there. It was clear they didn’t want Venezuelans there”.
Despite this feeling of rejection she also noted that during her journey she was helped by many people who used the same immigrant routes. Her dream is to reach Peru, where a friend of hers has offered a job and a roof for her children.
There are many women and girls who, like Milangela, are travelling alone from Venezuela. In crisis like this, women are the most vulnerable and this is why they are mostly asking for a safe shelter.
How You Can Help
CARE established the Venezuela Humanitarian Response Fund to support ongoing fundraising efforts for the crisis. We seek to raise an additional $4 million to meet the immediate needs of 25,000 people displaced as a result of the deterioration of the humanitarian situation in Venezuela and its borders.
Learn more about our work in Ecuador.