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
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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.

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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