Arco Christian Church reaches out to Venezuelan migrants with humanitarian aid
Cuenca, Ecuador – Several months ago Arco Christian Church began an important work in the community; attending to the needs of displaced Venezuelan migrants who are the product of the economic, social and political crisis taking place in their country. They’ve been forced to abandon their country due to hunger, violence and hyperinflation and arrive in Ecuador seeking better living conditions and opportunities.
For this reason, a group of church members has gathered to help those who arrive at Arco church each Sunday seeking support to begin a new life. Some intend to establish themselves here but a great majority desire to assemble resources in order to continue on their journey to Argentina, Peru or Chile.
According to official data, 650 thousand Venezuelans have entered Ecuador, with 115,690 remaining in the country. This indicates that at least 18 percent decide to stay. In the city of Cuenca, it is estimated that there are more than 4000 Venezuelans, however, we expect that in the near future many more displaced will arrive and that this group of volunteers from Arco will join forces to be able to serve more people.
“As a group of volunteers, we unite our efforts to offer social assistance, that is, with Arco Church’s corroboration, we provide medical and dental attention, clothing for protection against the cold, food, orientation, and in many cases, visitation - during which we pray for them,” stated Javier Núñez Leal, collaborator of the project and Venezuelan immigrant.
Considering the fact that the currency of Venezuela, the Bolívar, has so depreciated in value, people arrive with very little money or almost nothing, especially those who arrive on foot; thus, highlighting the importance of providing them with non-perishable food and medical assistance.
“When people have food, they can concentrate on finding work. This service that we are providing is a way to motivate and inspire them – clearly conveying the message of ‘yes, you can’ - press on”, noted Deanna Capaldi, liaison for Arco Church with the collaborating team.
Delivery of School Supplies
Recently, migrant children were provided with school supplies. Thankfully, the school system here admits foreign students who don’t have visas so that they can continue their studies and academic training, while others are still in the infant or preschool stage.
Yes, You Can
This group, called, “Yes, You Can” aims to continue helping and supporting more Venezuelans with a clear non-profit humanitarian objective. They plan to soon create a food bank and reach more Venezuelans on Saturdays, by providing breakfast along with workshops on how to save money in a joint effort with the Cuenca Partner program.