Celeste Flores y el poder de la sanación colectiva a través de la escritura

En 2020, RET firmó un Convenio de Cooperación Internacional con la Unidad de atención y reparación a las víctimas de Colombia para facilitar el acceso a servicios a las “víctimas del conflicto armado interno colombiano” que se encuentran y/o retornan del exterior. Las actividades tuvieron como objetivo generar un impacto directo en la estabilización e integración comunitaria de las víctimas que viven en el exterior de manera permanente y facilitar su retorno a Colombia en algunos casos.

Esta cooperación brindó asistencia técnica a consulados y organizaciones, apoyó a los retornados en sus procesos de integración y les brindó asistencia humanitaria. Además, facilitó el acceso a los derechos y la asistencia directa a las víctimas residentes en el exterior, en Panamá, Venezuela y Ecuador, a través de la asistencia humanitaria, la atención psicosocial, la asesoría jurídica y el fortalecimiento de capacidades, además de involucrarlas en la prevención de la violencia basada en género y procesos de integración socio-cultural para jóvenes.

En el marco de esta intervención, nueve mujeres colombianas que residen en Panamá participaron en una serie de talleres de escritura creativa como medida de reparación, en donde transformaron sus experiencias y emociones en minicuentos y poemas que trascienden el conflicto armado e involucran otras dimensiones de sus vivencias personales.

Espacios para amplificar la voz

Hoy compartimos el testimonio de una de ellas, Celeste Flores, víctima del conflicto armado colombiano que en el año 2011 tuvo que dejar su país y empezar una nueva vida en Panamá junto a su pequeña hija y esposo.

Celeste Flores tenía 25 años cuando salió de Colombia y llegó por tierra a Panamá. Ella nos cuenta que al principio le fue difícil integrarse, “le toca a uno salir corriendo de su país, dejando familia, y su proyecto de vida… Cuando salimos dejamos nuestro negocio de venta de electrodomésticos, y viajamos solo con cuatro mudas de ropa”.

Celeste Flores abraza uno de los recuerdos que pudo traer desde Colombia hace 10 años.

Durante sus primeros meses en Panamá, Celeste recibió acompañamiento psicológico por parte de especialistas de RET. “Me diagnosticaron estrés postraumático… Ahora estoy mejor, porque ya no vivo directamente el conflicto… y aunque todavía es difícil adaptarse, más aún en este contexto de pandemia, nuestras vidas están a salvo. Entonces, estamos mil veces mejor aquí”.

En el año 2020, se enteró de la convocatoria para participar de los talleres de escritura creativa promovidos por RET y la Unidad de Víctimas. “Fueron momentos agradables, cuando nos reuníamos sentía que estaba de vuelta en mi país. Encontré en este espacio una familia, sentí mucho apoyo de las compañeras, mucho amor”, comenta.

Los talleres de escritura creativa contaron con el acompañamiento de colaboradores de RET en Panamá, funcionarios de la Unidad para las Víctimas del Grupo de Atención a Víctimas en el Exterior y del Grupo de Enfoque Psicosocial.

Producto de las sesiones de escritura creativa, las participantes construyeron 26 escritos individuales y uno colectivo, los cuales han sido recogidos en una publicación próxima a ser lanzada, con el propósito de amplificar sus voces y memorias, contribuir al reconocimiento de sus experiencias, y visibilizar los desafíos particulares que enfrentan ante la violencia, reconociendo sus escritos como puentes hacia la sanación colectiva.

“En el transcurso de los talleres me di cuenta de que tenemos capacidades que no reconocemos en nosotras mismas… me di cuenta de que somos capaces de muchas cosas. Jamás me imaginé que podría escribir o publicar un libro. Esa habilidad la teníamos oculta, y fue algo tan bonito descubrirla y poder decir esta es mi creatividad, esta es mi historia… nuestras voces tienen un valor. Estoy muy contenta por la publicación”, cuenta Celeste.

“Hemos reflexionado mucho sobre el significado de vivir en paz y estar a salvo. También nos ha servido para sacar aquellas emociones que teníamos guardadas, a sacar fuerzas para seguir adelante, luchando por un futuro, por un anhelo… juntas nos hemos apoyado, escuchado y contenido. Siento que me ha ayudado muchísimo y espero puedan repetirse este tipo de talleres para otras mujeres que lo necesiten.”

“Uno de mis mayores sueños es continuar mis estudios en derecho, que mis hijos puedan crecer y educarse, tener una bonita familia, vivir el presente y que el pasado quede atrás.”

RET agradece a la Unidad para la atención y reparación integral a las víctimas de Colombia por esta alianza y cooperación exitosa para proteger y fortalecer la resiliencia de las víctimas de los conflictos armados colombianos en las Américas. Saludamos el coraje y la resistencia de todas las personas que participaron en este proyecto y reconocemos a todos los y las sobrevivientes de la violencia en todas partes.

Aquí compartimos uno de los escritos de Celeste:

Sin título

por Celeste Flores

Mi cuerpo es mío

me valoro

me amo

me respeto

mi cuerpo es templo

del Espíritu

Santo.

P.S. El nombre de la participante fue modificado para proteger su identidad.

[English]

The power of collective healing through creative writing
The Story of Celeste Flores.

In 2020, RET signed an International Cooperation Agreement with the Unit for the Victims Assistance and Reparation of Colombia to facilitate access to services for the “victims of the internal Colombian armed conflict” (in exile) and the Colombian returnees. The activities aimed to create a direct impact on the stabilization and community integration of victims living abroad permanently and facilitate returnees’ repatriation to Colombia.

This cooperation provided technical assistance to consulates and organizations, supported returnees with their integration processes, and provided returnees with humanitarian aid. Moreover, it facilitated access to rights and direct assistance to victims living abroad, namely, in Panama, Venezuela, and Ecuador, through humanitarian aid, psychosocial care, legal advice, and the strengthening of capacities, in tandem with engaging them in the prevention of gender-based violence awareness and socio-cultural events.

Within the framework of Its interventions in Panama, a group of nine female survivors of the Colombian armed conflicts participated in a series of creative writing workshops aimed to promote internal reconciliation. Through words, the group of women transformed their experiences and emotions into compact stories and poems transcending the armed conflicts’ violence, linking their experiences into another dimension for peace.

Creatively amplifying her voice

Today we share the story of one courageous survivor, Celeste Flores, who flee Colombia’s armed conflict in 2011 to start a new life in Panama with her husband and daughter.

“I was 25 years old when we fled Colombia to Panama by land. At first, it was difficult to integrate, blaming oneself on the decision of fleeing your own country, leaving your family, work, and your entire life… When we left, we left our small business and main work, we traveled with only four sets of clothing’s with us”.

During her first months participating in the project in Panama, Celeste received psychological support from RET specialists. “I was diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). After multiple sessions, I can say I feel better, I no longer directly live the conflict, and although it is still difficult to adapt, especially now, we feel safe now in the context of a pandemic. I believe we are a thousand times better here.”

During the Pandemic, Celeste enrolled to participate in the creative writing workshops organized by RET and the Victims Unit to assist victims living abroad with their healing process. In addition to the creative writing training facilitated by Carolina Fonseca, Psychosocial Focus Group Discussions were organized regularly.

“When we first met as a group, I felt that I was back in my country. I found a family in this space, I felt lots of support from my colleagues, lots of love.”

“During the workshops, I realized that we have great potential and capacities that we do not recognize in ourselves… We are capable of so many things. I never imagined that I could write or publish a book. We had that skill hidden. I was proud to discover this hidden talent and be able to proudly say this is my writing, this is my story… Now, our voices have value. I am thrilled with the publication. The workshop made us reflect on what it means to live in peace and feel safe. It has also helped us eliminate the negative emotions we had previously saved, accept the strength to move forward, and fight for a better future. Together, we have supported each other. It has helped me a lot, and I hope this creative workshop will be open again for other women who need it.”

As a result of the creative writing sessions, the nine participants elaborated 26 individual pieces and one collective piece. In recognition of their experiences and the challenges of all who have faced violence, the stories and poems were collected in one publication aimed to amplify and honor their voices and memories and recognize their writings as a bridge to collective healing.

RET would like to thank the Unit for the Victims Assistance and Reparation for this partnership and successful cooperation to protect and build the resilience of victims of the Colombian armed conflicts in the Americas. We salute the courage and resilience of all survivors who participated in this project, and we acknowledge all survivors of violence everywhere.

Here we share one of Celeste’s poems:

Sin título / Untitled, Celeste Flores

Mi cuerpo es mío/ My body is my own

me valoro / I value myself

me amo / I love myself

me respeto / I respect myself

mi cuerpo es templo / my body is the temple

del Espíritu / of the Holy

Santo. / Spirit.


P.S. Name was changed in this story to protect the identity of the participant.


La historia de Beyciveck: puentes para sanar, aprender y brillar para niñas, niños, adolescentes y jóvenes refugiados venezolanos.

Artículo en RET INT:
https://www.theret.org/beycivecks-story-bridges-to-heal-learn-and-shine-for-children-and-young-venezuelan-refugees
.

El 20 de Junio se conmemora el Día Mundial de los Refugiados. Este año, el tema se centró en el poder de la inclusión y la importancia de trabajar juntos y juntas para recuperarnos de la crisis de salud actual: “Juntos nos cuidamos, aprendemos y brillamos”.

En el contexto de la COVID-19, los niños, niñas, adolescentes y jóvenes refugiados se enfrentan a adversidades recurrentes. La educación es una herramienta clave para brindarles un sentido de normalidad, un espacio seguro y una oportunidad para prosperar.

Hoy compartimos la historia de Beyciveck, una adolescente venezolana que participó en el programa de educación a distancia llamado “Aprendiendo Unidos”, implementado por RET en 2020, con el generoso apoyo de Education Cannot Wait.

Beyciveck, de 15 años, llegó a Perú en 2019. No pudo reanudar su educación e inscribirse en la escuela durante ese año porque su familia enfrentaba dificultades económicas. A principios de 2020, estaba esperando con mucho entusiasmo que comenzara el nuevo año escolar e incluso comenzó a jugar al rugby con un grupo de adolescentes refugiados y de la comunidad de acogida. “Me gustan todos los deportes… me gusta jugar y divertirme”, nos comenta.

Cuando la pandemia por COVID-19 llegó, el gobierno de Perú declaró el estado de emergencia nacional y restringió la movilidad de la población, posponiendo las clases presenciales. En paralelo, el Ministerio de Educación implementó una estrategia alternativa nacional para facilitar el acceso a la educación a través de un programa complementario de educación a distancia, “Aprendo en casa”. El programa incluyó materiales de e-learning y sesiones educativas en televisión y radio, con sesiones de consulta a través de grupos de chat para orientar a los estudiantes.

Aún así, muchas personas migrantes y familias de refugiados experimentaron dificultades para acceder a las plataformas propuestas en línea debido a dificultades económicas, falta de Internet y dispositivos. Muchas de las familias tenían solo un teléfono móvil o un televisor para que lo usara toda la familia.

La pandemia por COVID-19, junto con múltiples adversidades, incrementó el riesgo de deserción de las y los estudiantes. En este contexto, RET respondió adaptando la estrategia y las actividades de sus proyectos para reducir las brechas de necesidades de los estudiantes y sus familias durante la crisis y facilitó su acceso a oportunidades de educación virtual.

Beyciveck fue una de las y los estudiantes que se inscribieron en el programa virtual “Aprendiendo Unidos” implementado por RET en asociación con UNICEF, UNESCO y Plan International. Recibió catorce (14) sesiones de e-learning en matemáticas mientras fortalecía sus habilidades socioemocionales con el apoyo y orientación de un tutor especializado. Beyciveck usó activa y eficientemente la plataforma virtual y accedió a todos los recursos a través del teléfono inteligente de su madre y/o la computadora de su prima.

“El programa virtual Aprendiendo Unidos ha sido una gran herramienta para mí. Aprendí cosas nuevas en el Perú que no conocía. Es fundamental para cualquier niño, niña, adolescente y hasta para cualquier adulto educarse para así alcanzar sus metas en la vida. Quiero ser ingeniera industrial en el futuro, como mi hermano ”, comentó Beyciveck.

La historia de Beyciveck es una de las 1.300 historias de niños, niñas y adolescentes que participaron en el proyecto “Manteniendo la educación accesible para migrantes, refugiados y comunidades de acogida venezolanos durante los tiempos COVID-19 en Perú”, implementado por RET en alianza con el fondo global Education Cannot Wait.

Desde el año 2000, RET ha estado con refugiados y comunidades vulnerables en más de 30 países en todo el mundo. El testimonio de Beyciveck es testimonio de la resiliencia de los jóvenes refugiados y del papel positivo que juega RET en sus vidas

RET hace un agradecimiento especial a Education Cannot Wait por su continuo apoyo y respuesta a las necesidades de los refugiados y solicitantes de asilo venezolanos en América Latina y el Caribe.

[English]

Beyciveck’s Story: bridges to heal, learn and shine for children and young Venezuelan refugees.

RET INT article:
https://www.theret.org/beycivecks-story-bridges-to-heal-learn-and-shine-for-children-and-young-venezuelan-refugees

20th June is the commemoration of World Refugee Day. This year, the theme focused on the power of inclusion and the importance of working together to recover from the pandemic: “Together We Heal, Learn and Shine.”

In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, children and young refugees are facing recurrent adversities. Education is a key tool to provide them with a sense of normalcy, a safe space, and an opportunity to thrive.

Today we share the story of Beyciveck, a Venezuelan adolescent who participated in a distance learning program called “Learning Together,” implemented by RET in 2020, with the generous support of Education Cannot Wait.

Beyciveck, 15 years old, arrived in Peru in 2019. She couldn’t resume her education and enroll in school during that year as her family was facing economic hardships. Beginning of 2020, she was eagerly waiting for the new school year to start, and even began playing rugby with a group of refugees and host community adolescents. “I like all kind of sports… I like to play and have fun”, she says.

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit. The government of Peru declared a state of national emergency and restricted the mobility of the population, postponing the academic year to 2021. The Ministry of Education implemented a national alternative strategy to facilitate access to education during COVID-19 through a complementary distance learning program, “I Learn at Home.” The program included e-learning materials and educational sessions on TV and radio, with consultation sessions through chat groups to guide and mentor the students.

Still, many migrants and refugee families experienced difficulties accessing the proposed platforms online due to economic difficulties, lack of internet and equipment. Many of the families had only one mobile phone and or TV for the entire family to use.

The COVID-19 pandemic, coupled with multiple adversities, increased the risk of students drop-out. Therefore, RET responded by adapting its project strategy and activities to fill the needs gaps of students and their families during the pandemic and facilitated their access to virtual education opportunities.

Beyciveck was one of the students who enrolled in the  “Learning together” virtual program implemented by RET in partnership with UNICEF, UNESCO, and Plan International. She received fourteen (14) e-learning sessions in mathematics while strengthening her socio-emotional skills with the support and orientation of a specialized tutor. Beyciveck actively and efficiently used the virtual platform and accessed all the resources through her mother’s smartphone and/or her cousin’s computer.

“The virtual program “Learning Together” has been a great tool for me. I learned new things in Peru that I did not know. It is crucial for any child, adolescent, and even any adult to learn to achieve their goals in life. I want to be an industrial engineer in the future, like my brother”, commented Beyciveck.

The Story of Beyciveck is one of 1,300 children and adolescents who participated in the “Keeping education accessible to Venezuelan migrants, refugees and host communities during the COVID-19 times in Peru” project, implemented by RET in partnership with the global fund Education Cannot Wait.  Since 2000, RET has been standing with refugees and vulnerable communities in more than 30 countries worldwide. Beyciveck’s testimony stands witness to young refugees’ resilience and the positive role RET plays in their lives.

RET would like to thank Education Cannot Wait for its continuous support and response to the needs of Venezuelan refugees and asylum seekers in Latin America and the Caribbean.

La historia de Jonathan: Orgullo y caminos de sanación para personas migrantes y refugiadas venezolanas LGTBIQ +

Junio es el mes del orgullo, una oportunidad para celebrar todas las formas de amor y diversidad. También es un recordatorio de todos los desafíos que enfrenta la comunidad LGTBIQ + en todo el mundo, especialmente aquellas personas en contexto de movilidad humana.

Junio también es el mes en el que se produjeron dos grandes eventos en torno a la migración venezolana en América Latina y el Caribe: El Encuentro de Alto Nivel con la Sociedad Civil en Solidaridad con los Refugiados y Migrantes Venezolanos, realizado el 14 de junio por la Coalición por la Defensa de los Derechos de Refugiados, Migrantes y Desplazados en LAC (Coalición LAC RMD), el Gobierno de Canadá y el Comisionado Europeo de Manejo de Crisis; evento paralelo a la Conferencia Internacional de Donantes en Solidaridad con los Refugiados y Migrantes Venezolanos, realizado el 17 de junio por el Gobierno de Canadá.

Jonathan, participante venezolano del programa de Apoyo Psicosocial de RET en Costa Rica, dio su testimonio como orador en el Encuentro de Alto Nivel con la Sociedad Civil, siendo miembro de la comunidad LGTBIQ + y migrante venezolano, para compartir los desafíos y necesidades de desarrollo de su comunidad ¡Mira su video aquí!

En su discurso, Jonathan compartió su experiencia y cómo la estigmatización y la discriminación dificultan el acceso a servicios y reducen las oportunidades de encontrar trabajo.

“Es como volver a salir del closet… no solo te presentas como un extranjero, sino que también tienes que presentarte como gay porque la gente te va a preguntar… ¿tienes esposa? Y luego vuelves a explicar, quizás con vergüenza, con inseguridades”, comenta Jonathan.

Todavía hay mucha discriminación, por ser trans, por ser lesbiana, por ser bisexual… también hay un tema delicado, y es tener VIH”. Explicó que las personas migrantes y refugiadas venezolanas con VIH son las más vulnerables; se movilizan en busca de oportunidades para acceder al tratamiento y llegan a los países de acogida con la esperanza de comenzar una nueva vida. Jonathan nos cuenta que según el testimonio de un amigo, este tipo de viaje no es fácil; existen barreras para acceder a los servicios de salud y el hecho de no contar con el apoyo de sus familias lo hace aun más difícil. También el miedo a no encontrar trabajo o perderlo por el estigma.

A Jonathan le gustaría convertirse en psicólogo para ayudar a otros miembros de la comunidad LGBTQI + en su proceso de integración. Ha recibido apoyo psicosocial a través del programa “Respondiendo a las necesidades específicas de refugiados y solicitantes de asilo en Costa Rica” de ACNUR, en el que RET, como socio implementador, trabaja para empoderar a las personas para que accedan a sus derechos en la sociedad; habilitando una plataforma participativa para la integración social y el fortalecimiento de su salud emocional y mental a través del apoyo y atención psicosocial.

En sus palabras, esta experiencia le permite procesar su situación desde otra perspectiva, “Afortunadamente, aquí en Costa Rica he conocido gente maravillosa y organizaciones increíbles como RET, que me ayudan a obtener y comprender todas estas herramientas y todos estos pensamientos y situaciones complejas. … Eso nos hace entender que somos seres humanos y todos somos diferentes, y debemos aceptarnos a nosotros mismos ya los demás ”.

“Sueño con estudiar psicología y ayudar a cada uno de los miembros de la comunidad LGBT que han pasado por todas estas situaciones… porque es una carrera que siento que te permite conectar con las personas y con los sentimientos”.

Al final de su discurso, hizo un llamado a la Cooperación Internacional y las ONG internacionales para apoyar la educación de los jóvenes migrantes y refugiados venezolanos de la comunidad LGTBIQ +, y a unir esfuerzos para reducir las barreras de acceso a tratamientos y servicios de salud para personas migrantes y refugiadas con VIH en los países de acogida de América Latina.

Las historias de participantes como Jonathan son el reflejo de sus propios logros y del rol de RET en sus vidas. RET desea agradecer a ACNUR por su apoyo y respuesta a las necesidades de refugiados y solicitantes de refugio en Costa Rica.

La Coalición LAC RMD hace un llamado a la acción en el marco de la Conferencia Internacional de Donantes en Solidaridad con los Refugiados y Migrantes de Venezuela

La Coalición LAC RDM[1] saluda y agradece al Gobierno de Canadá y la Plataforma R4V, por convocar la Conferencia Internacional de Donantes, así como a la Unión Europea y la Comunidad internacional de donantes por su compromiso con los más de 5.6 millones de personas refugiadas y migrantes de Venezuela, de los cuales 4.6 millones se encuentran en América Latina y el Caribe.

De acuerdo con el Plan de Respuesta Regional para Refugiados y Migrantes de Venezuela 2021 (RMRP) hay 7,2 millones de personas con necesidades humanitarias: 3,4 millones de venezolanos asentados en países de acogida, y el resto retornados, en tránsito y/o en movimiento pendular, población que en 2020 sufrió particularmente el impacto de la pandemia de Covid-19.

Los desalojos, la falta de un techo seguro, la violencia de género, la imposibilidad de los niños, niñas y adolescentes (NNA) para permanecer o acceder a educación, la vulneración de la salud y derechos sexuales y reproductivos, el recrudecimiento de la explotación sexual y la trata de mujeres y niñas, la falta de acceso de manera regular y adecuada a alimentos y nutrientes, la pérdida de fuentes de ingresos incluidas las personas con discapacidad muchas veces dedicadas al trabajo informal, las dificultades para acceder a tratamientos de las personas con enfermedades crónicas, la discriminación y violencia, particularmente hacia la población LGTBQI+, la falta de oportunidades para los jóvenes y la falta de respuestas para las personas con discapacidad, entre múltiples afectaciones, han tenido un serio impacto en la integridad física y psicológica de la población.

[English]

Jonathan’s Story: Pride and healing paths for LGTBIQ+ Venezuelan migrants and refugees

June is Pride month, an opportunity to celebrate all forms of love and diversity. It is also a reminder of all the challenges the LGTBIQ+ community faces worldwide, especially for those individuals in the context of human mobility. 

June has also been the month where two main events around the Venezuelan migration in Latin America and the Caribbean occurred: The High-level Meeting with Civil Society in Solidarity with Venezuelan Refugees and Migrants, co-hosted on 14 June by the Coalition for the Defense of the Rights of Refugees, Migrants, and Displaced People in LAC (Coalition LAC RMD),  the Government of Canada, and the European Commission for Crisis Management; side-event of the International Donors’ Conference in Solidarity with Venezuelan Refugees and Migrants, on 17 June, hosted by the Government of Canada.

Jonathan, a Venezuelan participant from RET’s Psychosocial Support Program in Costa Rica, gave his testimony as a speaker in the High-Level Meeting with Civil Society, as a member of the LGTBIQ+ community and Venezuelan Migrant to share the challenges and development needs his community is facing. Check out his video here!

During his speech, Jonathan talked about his experience and how the stigmatization and discrimination make access to services more difficult or reduces the opportunities to find a job.

It is like coming out of the closet again… you not only present yourself as a foreigner, but you also have to present yourself as gay because people are going to ask… do you have a wife? And then you explain again, perhaps with shame, with insecurities,” Jonathan said.

There is still a lot of discrimination, for being trans, for being a lesbian, for being bisexual … there is also a sensitive issue, and is having HIV.” He explained migrants and refugees with HIV are the most vulnerable; they travel for opportunities to access treatment and arrive at the host countries with the hope of starting a new life. By the testimony of a friend, he said this kind of journey is not easy; there are barriers to access to health services, and being without the support of their families makes it more challenging. There is also the fear of not finding a job or losing it because of the stigma.

Jonathan would like to become a psychologist to help other members of the LGBTQI+ community in their process of integration. He has received psychosocial support through the UNCHR program “Responding to the specific needs of refugees and asylum seekers in Costa Rica,” in which RET, as implementing partner, works to empower individuals to access their rights in society; enabling a participatory platform for social integration and strengthening their emotional and mental health through psychosocial support and attention.

In his words, this experience helps him understand his situation from another perspective, “Fortunately, here in Costa Rica I have met wonderful people and incredible organizations such as RET, who help me obtain and understand all these tools and all these complex thoughts and situations… that makes us understand that we are human beings and we all are different, and we must accept ourselves and others.”

At least, I dream of studying psychology and helping each of the members of the LGBT community who have gone through all these situations because it is a career that I feel enables you to connect with people and with feelings.

At the end of his speech, he made a call to International Cooperation and INGOs to support the education of young Venezuelan Migrants and Refugees from the LGTBIQ+ community, and to make more efforts to reduce barriers to access treatments and health services for migrants and refugees with HIV in the host countries in Latin America.

The stories of participants like Jonathan stand witness to their achievements and RET’s key role in their lives. RET would like to thank UNCHR for its support and response to the needs of refugees and asylum seekers in Costa Rica.

The LAC RMD Coalition issues a call to action in the framework of the International Donors’ Conference in Solidarity with Venezuelan Refugees and Migrants

The LAC RDM Coalition[1] salutes and thanks the Government of Canada and the R4V Platform for convening the International Donors’ Conference, as well as the European Union and the international donor community for their commitment to the more than 5.6 million refugees and migrants from Venezuela, 4.6 million of whom are in Latin America and the Caribbean.

According to the 2021 Regional Refugee and Migrant Response Plan for Venezuela (RMRP) there are 7.2 million people with humanitarian need: 3.4 million Venezuelans settled in host countries, and the rest returnees, in transit and/or in pendular movement, a population that in 2020 particularly suffered the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The challenges for Venezuelan migrants and refugees are manifold: evictions, lack of safe shelter, gender-based violence, inability for children and adolescents to access or remain in education, violation of health and reproductive rights, the resurgence of sexual exploitation and trafficking of women and girls, the lack of access to regular and adequate food and nutrients, loss of sources of income, including people with disabilities often engaged in informal work, difficulties in accessing treatment for people with chronic illnesses, discrimination and violence, particularly towards the LGBTQI+ population,  the lack of opportunities for young people and lack of responses for people with disabilities. These factors, among other affectations, have had a serious impact on the physical and psychological integrity of the population.

COVID-19: Violencia de Género contra Mujeres y Niñas, la segunda emergencia que crece

[Español]

Día Internacional de la Eliminación de la Violencia contra la Mujer

25 de Noviembre de 2020

La pandemia por COVID-19 ha puesto a prueba la capacidad de los sistemas de salud en diversos países y ha provocado desafíos sin precedentes. Mientras los gobiernos están trabajando en medidas de protección, otra emergencia creció a la sombra, provocando efectos adversos, especialmente en mujeres y niñas: la violencia de género.

A nivel mundial, 1 de cada 3 mujeres ha experimentado alguna vez violencia física o sexual por parte de su pareja. La pandemia por COVID-19, junto con las desigualdades de género existentes, incrementó los riesgos de violencia de género contra mujeres y niñas, especialmente durante el confinamiento, lo que provocó un aumento global significativo de la violencia doméstica en los últimos meses.

Según ONU Mujeres, los nuevos datos indican que las llamadas a las líneas de atención en casos de violencia han aumentado desde que comenzó la pandemia, mientras las mujeres , adolescentes y niñas se encontraban encerradas con sus perpetradores. En situaciones más complejas en las que los sistemas de salud están colapsando, los albergues especializados y las líneas de atención alcanzaron su máxima capacidad y las mujeres, adolescentes y niñas quedaron desconectadas de sus redes de apoyo; el aislamiento aumentó su vulnerabilidad.

Desde que comenzó la pandemia, RET aseguró que los servicios de protección y los recursos disponibles para mujeres en situación de vulnerabilidad sean accesibles y no sean interrumpidos. Asumió el papel de facilitar el acceso a redes de seguridad social y protección a través de la tecnología para asistir y acompañar a mujeres jóvenes, adolescentes, adultas y niñas, refugiadas, desplazadas, migrantes y de las comunidades de acogida, particularmente vulnerables a la pandemia. 

Participamos activamente en la promoción de los derechos de las mujeres en su diversidad a través de campañas de sensibilización, sesiones de atención en salud sexual y reproductiva y apoyo psicosocial. Además, se reactivaron redes de protección en más de 25 países para responder oportunamente a sobrevivientes, mujeres, adolescentes y niñas en riesgo de violencia de género de manera integral. Para tal fin, se generaron grupos de apoyo virtual, se fortalecieron y desarrollaron rutas de atención, derivación y mecanismos de seguimiento para no dejar a nadie atrás.

Colaboramos con actores locales en la incidencia para el establecimiento de mecanismos de prevención y de respuesta integral ante casos de violencia de género, adaptados a las diferentes medidas de contingencia establecidas en cada país, en conjunto con el fortalecimiento de mecanismos comunitarios para la prevención y respuesta de violencia de género y derivación de casos a las diferentes instituciones responsables de la atención.

A la fecha, hemos alcanzado directamente a más de 61.000 personas a través de actividades de sensibilización sobre la prevención de COVID-19 y más de 6.500 personas recibieron atención en Salud Mental y Apoyo Psicosocial, durante la pandemia.

En el Día Internacional para la Eliminación de la Violencia contra la Mujer, reafirmamos nuestro compromiso a continuar apoyando a las mujeres, niñas y adolescentes en mayor vulnerabilidad entre los refugiados, solicitantes de asilo, migrantes y poblaciones de acogida, para prevenir y poner fin a la violencia en todas sus formas.

Durante los 16 días de Activismo contra la Violencia de Género, RET está lanzando una serie de actividades en el marco de un movimiento global para crear conciencia sobre la violencia de género y los riesgos asociados con la pandemia, especialmente para mujeres, niñas y adolescentes migrantes, refugiadas y en desplazamiento.

Estén atentos entre el 25 de noviembre y el 10 de diciembre para conocer más sobre las intervenciones de RET en más de 25 países.

[English]

COVID-19: A second emergency arose, Gender-based Violence against women and girls

The COVID-19 pandemic has stretched the healthcare systems and caused unprecedented challenges. While governments are working on protective measures, another emergency arose, causing adverse effects, especially on women and girls: Gender-based Violence.

Even before the pandemic, globally, 1 in 3 women experienced physical or sexual violence, mostly by an intimate partner. The COVID-19 pandemic, coupled with existing gender inequalities, increased the risks of gender-based violence against women and girls, especially during confinement and lockdown, leading to a significant global increase in Domestic Violence in the past couple of months. According to UN Women, new data indicates that calls to domestic violence hotlines have increased in many countries since the pandemic started, and vulnerable women and or girls are locked with their perpetrators. In more complex situations where health systems are collapsing, specialized shelters and hotlines reached their capacity, and women and girls are left disconnected from their support networks. Isolation is increasing the vulnerability of women and girls. 

Since the pandemic started, RET ensured the protection services and the resources available to vulnerable women are accessible and not interrupted. RET assumed its role in facilitating access to Social Safety Nets and Protection through technology to protect and assist refugees, internally displaced, migrants, and host community women and girls, particularly vulnerable to the pandemic. RET has been actively taking part in the plight to protect women and girls, and promote their rights and safety through awareness campaigns, sexual and reproductive health care sessions, and psychosocial support. Moreover, RET re-activated its protective networks in more than 25 countries to respond timely to survivors and women and girls at risk of gender-based violence through a comprehensive response mechanism. RET has established virtual support groups, strengthened and developed its care routes, referral, and follow-up mechanisms to leave no one behind. 

RET has been taking part in advocacy with local actors for the establishment of prevention mechanisms and comprehensive response mechanisms to cases of gender-based violence adapted to the different contingency measures established in each country, in tandem with strengthening community mechanisms for the prevention and response of gender-based violence, and referral of GBV cases at the community levels to the different care routes. RET has been assisting women and girls through the establishment of virtual support groups with psychosocial support follow-up. To date, more than 61,000 people were directly reached through messaging and awareness-raising activities on COVID-19 prevention and more than 6,500 people were provided with Mental Health and Psychosocial Support MHPSS, during the pandemic.

On the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, we re-commit to continue supporting the most underserved and disadvantaged women and girls amongst the refugees, asylum-seekers, migrants, and host populations, to prevent and end violence in all its forms. During the 16 days of Activism against Gender-based Violence, RET is launching a series of activities in a global movement to raise awareness about gender-based violence and risks associated with the pandemic, especially on migrants, refugees, and women in displacement. 

Stay tuned between the 25th of November and the 10th of December to learn more about RET’s interventions in more than 25 countries of operation. 

Call for Support to Lebanon

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Dear Friends,

As all of you know, the massive explosion on Tuesday in Beirut, was the third largest in the world after Hiroshima and Nagasaki, with more than 5000 people injured, thousands more missing, and 137casualties. More than 300,000 people have been internally displaced (IDP’s) due to the loss of their homes.

Lebanon, an already fragile state, had been suffering since its civil war from 1975-1990, from 5 decades of insecurities, social instability, and most recently from economic and financial collapse.

Think about this – Lebanon has a population of 6.8 million plus an additional 1 million Syrian and Iraqi refugees.  Approximately half the population are in dire need of food assistance, as unemployment was already approaching 40% before Tuesday’s blast.

Today, I urgently ask for your donation to RET, ourindependent, neutral, non-profit, based in Switzerland, Washington DC, Berlin, which I have been heading for the last 17 years. 

Our team is already on the ground working in Lebanon providing and ready to provide urgent assistance and lifesaving basic needs such as psychological first aid, food, water, shelter to those in need.

So many of you have already written to me.  I cannot thank you enough for your generous support during these tragic times. Your donations are much needed NOW to help feed and keep alive hundreds of thousands of people.  Thank you, again, and again!!!

Please follow the below link to GoGetFunding & Donate Urgently!
https://goget.fund/3kr2vJZ

Zeynep Gülgün Gündüz
President & CEO of RET
Check out the video of RET president !

 

RET’s COVID-19 Regional Response in Latin America and the Caribbean

RET has been present in the Latin America and the Caribbean region, since 2004, and has directly supported more than 717,000 direct project participants, and indirectly benefitted 3.6 Mio beneficiaries throughout 179 projects implemented predominantly in Belize, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Mexico, Panama, and Peru. The COVID-19 pandemic is overstretching healthcare systems and restricting access to basic needs, education, and livelihoods. Countries with pre-existing humanitarian needs, in fragile contexts, and protracted crises are the most affected, including the refugees, migrants and the vulnerable host communities. Due to restricted mobility, the poor living & working conditions where many vulnerable people depend on insufficient daily wages to cover basic needs such as shelter, food, and health care, refugee and migrants especially are becoming more susceptible to the deteriorating impact of COVID-19 and are also at risk of being stigmatized. This pandemic is aggravating the socio-economic unrest, leading to additional violence, conflicts, and the weakening of already fragile environments.

How is RET Staying & Delivering
RET has been conducting multiple needs assessment to understand the impact of this crisis on the most vulnerable in every country of operation, including the deteriorating effects on refugees and migrants. RET has been gathering information and timely data to adapt and respond through innovative urgent actions to mitigate the existing and additional protection risks of vulnerable people assisted through ongoing operations. RET’s response in LAC prioritized refugees’ and migrants’ particular needs in the areas of Protection, Shelter, WASH, Food Security, Livelihoods and, Social Integration through targeted and tailor-made interventions to complement the national authorities’ response.

RET has been coordinating its responses with grassroots organizations, Civil Society Organizations (CSO’s), and international partners to prioritize essential protection and pre-existing life-saving needs to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on the most affected communities, and has been taking part in promoting the inclusion of refugees and migrants in national programs. 

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Awareness & Prevention
While maintaining physical distancing measures, RET is implementing many prevention and response activities in countries of operation where refugees and migrants from Venezuela are hosted. These activities include providing access to reliable information on preventive measures, combatting misinformation and stigmatization, provision of hygiene kits, and soap, strengthening of community preventive health mechanisms through virtual workshops for key people at the community levels on preventive measures, response, and isolation mechanisms; access to safety equipment for health personnel; strengthening referral and follow-up mechanisms for COVID-19 cases in health centers at the local level and the delivery of sexual and reproductive health kits (condoms, flashlight, prevention information) and of PEP kits to health centers.

Protection (Women and Child)
RET is ensuring the protection services provided to the affected people are not interrupted, and assuming its current role in providing access to social safety nets and basic assistance to women and children through the use of technology to protect and assist refugees, internally displaced people, migrants and host communities particularly vulnerable to the pandemic. Key protection activities, such as individual protection assistance, case management, legal counseling, and individual psychosocial support, continue to be delivered via phone and WhatsApp chats, ensuring the well-being and mental health of the most vulnerable. 

RET is actively taking part in the protection of women and girls and in promoting their rights and safety through awareness campaigns and protective networks to provide sexual and reproductive health care and gender-based violence assistance. RET has established virtual support groups and a follow-up mechanism to assist vulnerable women at risk of Gender-based violence and survivors of #GBV. 

Food Security -Shelter Cash Assistance
RET has reviewed all evaluation tools to characterize new families affected by COVID 19 and applied means of verification to assist the most vulnerable. To bridge the food security gap, RET has been providing “Food Baskets” and “multi-purpose vouchers” to the most vulnerable people registered within our programs in coordination with local supermarkets. Also, RET has been providing multi-purpose cash transfers for the most vulnerable families whose livelihoods have been affected by COVID-19 and enabling all-cash voucher programs available in each country (conditional and multi-purpose cash) for the purchase of food, shelter and hygiene products (including gloves and soap). RET has been supporting food entrepreneurs and small marked oriented businesses with the purchase of food and its distribution in line with the regulations per country in coordination with relief entities and volunteers. RET has also been identifying shelters and coordinating with international and local partners to support people in shelters. 

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WASH
RET has been providing the most vulnerable refugees and migrants with hygiene kits (soap, anti-bacterial gel, gloves, mask, alcohol) as well as providing cleaning kits and safety equipment for workers at health centers and hospitals. In addition to providing traditional water filters in communities with weak infrastructure, and conducting virtual training on handwashing, use of security equipment and on hygiene recommendations in work, home, and school environments. RET has been conducting assessments of water systems, and subsequent definition of a plan of action for the corrective maintenance of hygiene facilities (in communities and schools).

EDUCATION
RET has been redesigning ad re-orienting its efforts in line with local needs and in coordination with host government’s policies at the local level to provide innovative solutions to remote learning through redesigning all its formal and informal education programs to provide access to alternative distance learning programs. With 20 years of experience in education, particularly in “Education in Emergencies (EiE),” RET is providing tailor-made solutions at the local level to bridge the educational gaps, in the broadest sense of vulnerable people. RET has been revising its entire education toolbox and is currently implementing actions to allow the continuity of the teaching-learning processes, also, strengthening of capacities on distance education models to facilitate the return to classes and maintain quality education.

RET’s latest actions in education focused on supporting the host governments with their COVID19 prevention campaigns, addressing children, parents, and caregivers and promoting non-formal digital education programs and virtual educational platforms established by the host governments; strengthening of alternative virtual education spaces; developing guides for caregivers with activities and educational processes; launching plans for the inclusion of migrant and refugee children in the educational system; supporting the access of students to connectivity, computers, laptops, tablets or smart-phones; in addition to supporting vulnerable students with internet data fees and or access. 

PER_PRM_20_EMERGENCYRESPONSE_IMG-20200515Social integration and Livelihoods.
The social impact of the COVID 19 outbreak can already be visible in many countries in LAC with a high number of refugees, migrants, and displaced people through the decrease of cohesion, a greater potential for conflict, and deepening inequalities. 

RET’s responses are being oriented to address the indirect effect of COVID-19 on social cohesion and integration in Latin America and the Caribbean; including addressing the risks of violence, discrimination, marginalization, and xenophobia towards the most vulnerable, especially the Venezuelan refugees through virtual tools such as webinars, Social networks, virtual social cohesion activities and interactive sessions at the community level. As part of its livelihood programs, RET is providing online support to increase the employability profiles of vulnerable people. (CV & job applications), along with tackling youth protection and mental health through social media awareness campaigns about health, education, housing, and work, in times of COVID-19.

During these challenging COVID19 times and in only three months, RET provided assistance and support to almost 18,000 refugees, migrants, and vulnerable people from the host community in Latin America and the Caribbean region alone. This is how the RET team is #Staying&Delivering.

RET is adopting an inclusive, multi-sectoral approach to alleviate the suffering and develop the resilience of the most affected, with particular attention to children, youth, and young women. RET will continue to provide its existing humanitarian, peace, development assistance while expanding its existent multi-sectoral response to address the new vulnerabilities in terms of COVID-19.  While RET hires 100% local staff, in most countries, and can, therefore, stay on the ground, and continue its programs uninterrupted during any crises. RET’s international management team are usually based in regional and headquarters office, and travel for technical capacity-building purposes, which during COVID-19, is happening online and through videoconferencing.

The battle is not yet over; we appeal to all governments, donors, and partners to maintain their support to RET programs around the world and to foster our multi-sectoral response to assist the most vulnerable. With international solidarity, we will mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on the most affected, during, and following this emergency.

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Three months into the pandemic – COVID19 Update

[English] & [Español]

During these challenging COVID19 times and since March 2020, RET provided assistance and support to almost 18,000 refugees, migrants, and vulnerable people from the host community in Latin America and the Caribbean region alone.
This is how the RET team is #Staying&Delivering.

As part of RET’s COVID-19 regional emergency response, an evaluation of the particular COVID-19-related needs and priorities of host governments in eight countries in which RET is present, have been made (Belize, Costa Rica, Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico, Panama, Peru and Venezuela.)

RET’s response in LAC prioritized refugees’ and migrants’ particular needs in the areas of Protection, Shelter, WASH, Food Security, Livelihoods and,  Social Integration, through targeted and tailor-made interventions to complement the national authorities’ response, in coordination with IOM, UNHCR, UNICEF, and other organizations. 

RET has been providing Psychosocial Support #PSS through hotline numbers available in all countries, in addition to providing virtual support for groups of women, with particular emphasis on the prevention of Gender-based Violence (GBV.) 

As part of its livelihood programs, RET is providing online support to increase the employability profiles of vulnerable people. (CV & job applications), along with tackling Youth protection and mental health through social media awareness campaigns and raising awareness about health, education, housing and work, in times of COVID-19.

RET has been supporting vulnerable people through multi-purpose cash assistance and distribution of health cards and hygiene kits to educational & health centers, along with vulnerable people in transit, to limit the spread of the disease. 

Finally, RET’s latest actions in Education focused on supporting the host governments with their COVID19 prevention campaigns, addressing children, parents, and caregivers and promoting non-formal digital education programs and virtual educational platforms established by the host governments; in addition to supporting vulnerable students with internet data fees and or access. 

 

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[Español]

Durante estos desafiantes # COVID19 veces y desde marzo de 2020, RET brindó asistencia y apoyo a casi 18,000 refugiados, migrantes y personas vulnerables de la comunidad de acogida solo en la región de América Latina y el Caribe. ¡Así es como el equipo RET está # Permaneciendo y entregando en #LAC!

  • Como parte de la respuesta de emergencia ante la pandemia del COVID-19, RET Américas, hizo una evaluación de las necesidades y prioridades particulares relacionadas con el COVID-19 de los gobiernos de acogida en ocho países en los que nuestra organización tiene presencia: Belice, Costa Rica, Colombia, Ecuador, México, Panamá, Perú y Venezuela.
  • De este modo, nuestra respuesta dio prioridad a las necesidades particulares de los refugiados y migrantes en las áreas de protección, alojamiento, WASH, alimentación, medios de vida e integración, mediante intervenciones segmentadas y adaptadas al contexto (por ejemplo, mediante una mayor asistencia en efectivo) para complementar la capacidad de respuesta de las autoridades nacionales y en cooperación con OIM, ACNUR, UNICEF y otras organizaciones.
  • Apoyo psicosocial a través de líneas de atención telefónica de urgencia puestas en marcha en todos los países, grupos de apoyo virtuales para mujeres con especial énfasis en la prevención de la violencia de género.
  • Medios de vida: asesoramiento virtual para la preparación de currículos y solicitudes de empleo, identificación y remisión de perfiles médicos solicitados por ACNUR para el programa de empleo de emergencia COVID-19 en países como México.
  • Protección de jóvenes mediante campañas en redes sociales.
  • Difusión de paquetes de información y folletos sobre salud, educación, vivienda y trabajo, incluyendo información sobre el COVID-19.
  • Asistencia a través de tarjetas sanitarias multipropósito para los participantes.
  • Entrega de kits de higiene al personal de los centros educativos y de salud, como migrantes y refugiados en tránsito, niños, niñas, adolescentes y familias que participan en nuestros proyectos para prevenir la propagación prolongada del COVID-19.
  • Implementación de nuevos proyectos para responder al brote de COVID-19, por ejemplo, en Perú, un nuevo proyecto específico financiado por el fondo Education Cannot Wait que tiene por objetivo mantener la educación accesible para migrantes y refugiados venezolanos en tiempos de COVID-19.
  • Todas las oficinas nacionales de América Latina y el Caribe han elaborado planes de contingencia para cada proyecto a fin de garantizar su ejecución, pese a los problemas que plantea la pandemia del COVID-19 y las medidas adoptadas por los países para reducir la propagación del virus. En coordinación con los diversos donantes, se han actualizado incluso los componentes de algunos proyectos para asegurar que se satisfagan las necesidades más urgentes de sus beneficiarios.
  • Nuestras acciones se centraron, principalmente, en brindar apoyo a los gobiernos de acogida a través de la implementación de campañas de prevención del COVID-19, dirigidas a actores locales del sector educativo, niños, niñas, adolescentes, madres, padres y cuidadores de la población migrante y refugiada, así como de las comunidades de acogida.
  • Implementación y promoción de programas de educación no formal, a través de plataformas digitales para apoyar su integración al sistema educativo local.
  • Orientación y promoción de plataformas educativas virtuales implementadas por los gobiernos de acogida; apoyo con datos de internet a los y las participantes.

 

 

What is RET doing to ensure safety and health at work while staying and delivering?

On the World Day for Safety and Health at Work. RET is focused on addressing the outbreak of infectious diseases at work in particular the COVID-19 pandemic. RET’s management assessed the risks by following the developments of the COVID-19 outbreak globally and as of the first week of March, proactively started to take measures to protect its employees by cancelling international travels of RET staff with face-to-face meetings being replaced with teleconference or online meetings. As a next step a risk map and action plan has been elaborated with the regional and local RET staff to take country specific measures by considering the governmental arrangements to protect its employees and also finding optimal solutions to deliver the services to the most vulnerable.

As a result of a series of collaborative planning, RET has launched multiple awareness campaigns amongst staff and project participants, providing factual information about the COVID-19 pandemic translated into more than 7 languages, including English, Spanish, French, Turkish, Arabic, Kirundi and Swahili and is rigorously combating misinformation and fake news concerning the pandemic at the country levels. RET is strictly following the related regulations and arrangements of the governments and raises the awareness of their employees and participants that if the disease starts spreading in their communities anyone even with mild symptoms such as cough or fever needs to stay at home, to inform RET’s responsible staff and request sick leave and administrative arrangements, to take everyday precautions to keep space between others, to keep away from others in public and to limit close contact and wash hands often, to avoid crowds as much as possible, to avoid public transportation, cruise travel and air travel, to contact their healthcare provider to ask about next steps, to have enough household items and groceries on hand so that they will be prepared to stay at home for a period of time.

In countries, where no or limited local governmental restrictions apply and employees and project participants are regularly attending the field sites/offices/centers, RET is raising awareness and taking required measures on the adoption of safe practices at work, by briefing the employees on promoting respiratory hygiene at the workplace and making sure the workplaces are clean and hygienic, surfaces are disinfected regularly, and that employees and project participants have access to places where they can wash their hands with soap and water (offices and field) and/or have access to basic hygienic materials and personal protective equipment such as hand sanitizers/dispensers, face masks, paper tissues, closed bins. In addition, risk assessments and required arrangements are carried out for meetings and events, offices and/or seats have been arranged so that the required distances are kept between the participants and employees.

RET is taking utmost measures to keep employees at higher risk of getting sick from COVID-19 safe to reduce their risk of getting infected, such as the elderly staff, staff with chronic diseases and immunocompromising conditions and pregnant women.

RET is addressing in its contingency plan the precautionary measures and the guidelines to follow in case of any outbreak in the workplace in addition to addressing the mental health and social consequences of a case of COVID-19 in the workplace and is offering counselling and support on a daily basis for more than 1000 employees on the frontline around the world.

To the RET humanitarian heroes on the frontline inAfghanistan, Belize, Burundi, Chad, Colombia, Costa Rica, DRC, Ecuador, Kenya, Lebanon, Mali, Mauritania, Mexico, Panama, Peru, Turkey, Venezuela, we salute you.

ZERO Project Award for Innovative Practice 2020 – PANAMA

RET Americas was granted the Zero Project Award 2020 for Innovative Practice for “Including Children, Adolescents and Youth with Disabilities in Disaster Risk Reduction and Management practices.”

RET Americas has been implementing an inclusive school safety project in Panama, to teach students with disabilities how to manage the risks associated with natural hazards. This unique project integrates Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) and Management Practices into public schools to address the needs of children and youth with disabilities.
This is the first project in Panama to integrate Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) and Management practices into public schools to address the needs of children and youth with disabilities. This unique project empowers young people with disabilities to be positive agents of change in both Disaster Risk Reduction and first response. Since 2015, nearly 8,000 young people with disabilities have taken part in the project.

Zero Project Award

About RET DRR Projects
RET has been designing and implementing projects on DRR since 2009, working in multiple countries in the LAC region, including Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador and Panama at the national and regional level, using innovative approaches and ground-breaking interventions focused on: (1) Participation of children, adolescents and young people in DRR (including children with disabilities); (2) Advocacy and institutional strengthening in DRR focused on children and youth; (3) Development of tools and frameworks for DRR focusing on children and young people.

The DRR projects focus specifically on the needs of children, adolescents and young people, aimed at building their resilience through capacity strengthening under a rights-based approach. In addition, the DRR projects respond to early childhood and adolescents and young people’s needs and to the essentials of people with disabilities or indigenous groups. Some of RET’s DRR projects comprises of institutional capacity building and strengthening processes contributing to the design and/or implementation of their DRR public policies. Moreover, other projects have focused on a community level through the implementation of risk management models.

During the last 10 years RET has implemented more than 20 DRR-focused regional and national projects, including integral actions in other sectors such as education, protection, health and/or WASH and livelihoods, benefiting more than 30,000 participants directly, and 90,000 indirectly.

Learn more about RET’s Inclusive Education & DRR work in Panama.

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Partners & Achievements
RET is actively engaged at the global level in the “Global Alliance for Risks Reduction and Resilience of the Education Sector” (GADRRRES).  In the LAC, RET is a member of the “Regional Education Sector Group for DRR and Education in Emergencies” and has been the coordinator of the “Coalition for Children and Youth Resilience in Latin America and the Caribbean – CORELAC”. As a leader of CORELAC, the movement “Voices of Children and Youth for Resilience” has been promoted, reaching more than 6,000 young people in collaboration with UNICEF and UNDRR, Save the Children, Plan and World Vision. This initiative succeeded in incorporating the participation of young people from LAC in different regional platforms for DRR (Chile, Ecuador and Canada). The initiative led to the recognition of children’ and youth’ participation at the “World Conference on DRR” held in SENDAI in 2015; fundamentally influenced the inclusion of children and young people as “relevant actors” in the document of the SENDAI Framework for Disaster Risks Reduction 2015-2030

Learn more about RET Disaster Risk Reduction approaches.

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