June 25, 2020. Bogota, Colombia: Kendry Castro (23) is receiving the cash aid in the form of a card given to her by a worker from the NRC team after checking her documents. She has two children of one and three years. She came to Bogotá with them from Merida 6 months after her husband when he sent her the money for the trip and she finished her fifth grade of school. She had the dream of studying medicine but she had to leave it and go to her husband. In Merida, her husband had a motorcycle workshop. In Bogotá, he found a job in a fruit shop in the market place. But with the virus, he lost his job and now, he's out on the street looking for trash to sell for recycling. At this time, because the school is close, Kendry stays with her two children, she can’t work. Apart from the market given by the kindergarten, this is the first time they receive help, in 3 years of being in the country. "The other day at one point, I started crying, because I wanted to leave. I called my mother in Venezuela, I wanted to go, I did not want to be here. And she answered: "No! don't come! Look at the problems! Think of the children!" . 
If she has to say something to the world about her life as a refugee: "It's hard. It's both sad and humiliating. Since I've been in Bogota, there are people who insult you. For being Venezuelan, they insult you. (...) There are many of us who wouldn't want this to happen to us. Because it's hard to come from a place where you are loved and cherished, to a place where you are humiliated, discriminated against, looked down on."
Her two children were born in Colombia, they are nationalized. And her husband is also Colombian: his parents were displaced by the internal war in Colombia and found refuge in Venezuela. Today, her grandmother has to return to Colombia. Kendry says, "My children's grandmother is Colombian. And she cries, and she says she wants to go to Venezuela, where she has her car, her house, her farm. Here, no. Here, she doesn't have it now."  Credit: Nadège Mazars for NRC
Colombia

Koronakrisens glemte ofre

- Fortell verden at livet vårt er trist, og at situasjonen er brutal og nedverdigende, Kendry Castro (23).

Dette er budskapet fra Kendry Castro (23). Hun er én av de mer enn fem millioner flyktninger og migranter som har forlatt Venezuela til andre land i Latin-Amerika og Karibia de siste årene.

Koronakrisen tvinger nå titusenvis av mennesker som Kendry til å leve i dyp fattigdom eller bli avhengige av humanitær hjelp, ettersom smittevernstiltakene forhindrer dem i å tjene penger. Mange tvinges også til å reise hjem.

June 25, 2020. Bogota, Colombia: Venezuelan migrants wait in line before participating in a wokshop on covid organized by the NGO NRC, before receiving financial assistance spread over 6 months, to cope with the reduction of their income due to confinement. Credit: Nadège Mazars for NRC
Les billedteksten Venezuelanere venter i kø utenfor Flyktninghjelpens kontor i Bogotá. Foto: Nadège Mazars / Flyktninghjelpen

Fotograf NADÈGE MAZAR møtte noen av disse venezuelanerne, da de oppsøkte Flyktninghjelpens kontor i den colombianske hovedstaden Bogotá.

Kendry Castro har omsorgen for to barn på ett og tre år. Hun kommer opprinnelig fra Merida i det nordvestlige Venezuela. Først dro mannen hennes for å finne arbeid. Seks måneder senere sendte han penger, slik at hun kunne komme etter sammen med de to barna. Hun var nettopp ferdig med skolen, og drømmen hennes var å studere medisin.

I Merida drev mannen et motorsykkelverksted. I Bogota fant han en jobb i en fruktbod på markedet, men da pandemien rammet mistet han jobben. Nå forsøker han å livnære familien ved å selge papp og jernskrap som han finner gatelangs. På grunn av pandemien er skolene stengt, og Kendry er hjemme med barna.

June 25, 2020. Bogota, Colombia: Kendry Castro (23) is receiving the cash aid in the form of a card given to her by a worker from the NRC team after checking her documents. She has two children of one and three years. She came to Bogotá with them from Merida 6 months after her husband when he sent her the money for the trip and she finished her fifth grade of school. She had the dream of studying medicine but she had to leave it and go to her husband. In Merida, her husband had a motorcycle workshop. In Bogotá, he found a job in a fruit shop in the market place. But with the virus, he lost his job and now, he's out on the street looking for trash to sell for recycling. At this time, because the school is close, Kendry stays with her two children, she can’t work. Apart from the market given by the kindergarten, this is the first time they receive help, in 3 years of being in the country. "The other day at one point, I started crying, because I wanted to leave. I called my mother in Venezuela, I wanted to go, I did not want to be here. And she answered: "No! don't come! Look at the problems! Think of the children!" . 
If she has to say something to the world about her life as a refugee: "It's hard. It's both sad and humiliating. Since I've been in Bogota, there are people who insult you. For being Venezuelan, they insult you. (...) There are many of us who wouldn't want this to happen to us. Because it's hard to come from a place where you are loved and cherished, to a place where you are humiliated, discriminated against, looked down on."
Her two children were born in Colombia, they are nationalized. And her husband is also Colombian: his parents were displaced by the internal war in Colombia and found refuge in Venezuela. Today, her grandmother has to return to Colombia. Kendry says, "My children's grandmother is Colombian. And she cries, and she says she wants to go to Venezuela, where she has her car, her house, her farm. Here, no. Here, she doesn't have it now."  Credit: Nadège Mazars for NRC
Les billedteksten Flyktninghjelpen gir økonomisk støtte til venezuelanske flyktninger og migranter. Det er første gang Kendry har fått noen hjelp på tre år. Foto: Nadège Mazars / Flyktninghjelpen

Hjelper sårbare familier

Mange flyktninger og migranter fra Venezuela som har mistet levebrødet som følge av koronakrisen har valgt å reise hjem. I juli hadde mer enn 80.000 dradd tilbake til hjemlandet fra forskjellige deler av Latin-Amerika.

- Vi gjør det vi kan for å bistå og beskytte de som trenger hjelp. I Colombia gir vi blant annet penger til utsatte familier og lokalsamfunnet hvor de bor, sier Dominika Arseniuk, som er Flyktninghjelpens landdirektør i Colombia.

Klikk her og støtt arbeidet vårt.

June 25, 2020. Bogota, Colombia: Venezuelan migrants participate in a wokshop on covid organized by the NGO NRC, before receiving financial assistance spread over 6 months, to cope with the reduction of their income due to confinement. Credit: Nadège Mazars for NRC 

----- info on the workshop from NRC Colombia----
In the workshop we shared tips to prevent family and social violence scenarios. As a consequence of the pandemic and the isolation measures, we taught how to manage emotions and solve conflicts. Learning to breathe and listen actively are key in this context, especially when people have been displaced, are far from their homes and may be discriminated because of their nationality. In the workshop we also provide information so that the population can make good use of the cash transfers provided.
Les billedteksten En gruppe venezuelanere deltar på en av våre gruppeaktiviteter for å håndtere psykisk stress. I tillegg får de økonomisk støtte. Foto: Nadège Mazars / Flyktninghjelpen

Flyktninghjelpen gir økonomisk støtte til venezuelanske flyktninger og migranter over en periode på seks måneder. Vi tilbyr også workshops for å hjelpe dem med å håndtere traumer og psykisk stress, som mange av dem sliter med.

June 25, 2020. Bogota, Colombia: Kendry Castro (23) is receiving the cash aid in the form of a card given to her by a worker from the NRC team after checking her documents. She has two children of one and three years. She came to Bogotá with them from Merida 6 months after her husband when he sent her the money for the trip and she finished her fifth grade of school. She had the dream of studying medicine but she had to leave it and go to her husband. In Merida, her husband had a motorcycle workshop. In Bogotá, he found a job in a fruit shop in the market place. But with the virus, he lost his job and now, he's out on the street looking for trash to sell for recycling. At this time, because the school is close, Kendry stays with her two children, she can’t work. Apart from the market given by the kindergarten, this is the first time they receive help, in 3 years of being in the country. "The other day at one point, I started crying, because I wanted to leave. I called my mother in Venezuela, I wanted to go, I did not want to be here. And she answered: "No! don't come! Look at the problems! Think of the children!" . 
If she has to say something to the world about her life as a refugee: "It's hard. It's both sad and humiliating. Since I've been in Bogota, there are people who insult you. For being Venezuelan, they insult you. (...) There are many of us who wouldn't want this to happen to us. Because it's hard to come from a place where you are loved and cherished, to a place where you are humiliated, discriminated against, looked down on."
Her two children were born in Colombia, they are nationalized. And her husband is also Colombian: his parents were displaced by the internal war in Colombia and found refuge in Venezuela. Today, her grandmother has to return to Colombia. Kendry says, "My children's grandmother is Colombian. And she cries, and she says she wants to go to Venezuela, where she has her car, her house, her farm. Here, no. Here, she doesn't have it now."  Credit: Nadège Mazars for NRC
Les billedteksten - Det er vanskelig å komme fra et sted hvor du er elsket og verdsatt, til et sted hvor du blir ydmyket, diskriminert og sett ned på, sier Kendry. Foto: Nadège Mazars / Flyktninghjelpen

Lengter hjem

Kendry og mannen har vært uten inntekter siden pandemien rammet. Dette er første gang de mottar noen som helst hjelp etter at de kom til Colombia for tre år siden. Hun forteller at hun gråter ofte og lengter hjem. Forleden ringte hun moren i Venezuela og fortalte at hun ville reise tilbake, men moren frarådet henne: “Nei! Ikke kom. Her er det bare problemer. Tenk på barna.”

På spørsmål om hva hun vil si til verden om livet på flukt, svarer Kendry: - Fortell verden at livet vårt er trist, og at situasjonen er brutalt og nedverdigende.

- De fornærmer og ydmyker meg bare fordi jeg er venezuelansk. Det er vanskelig å komme fra et sted hvor du er elsket og verdsatt, til et sted hvor du blir ydmyket, diskriminert og sett ned på.

Flyktninghjelpens landdirektør, Dominika  Arseniuk, forklarer: - Den største faktoren som gjør Venezuelas flyktninger spesielt utsatt, er at de ofte ikke har en formell status i vertslandene. Dette betyr at de har begrenset mulighet til å ta seg lovlig arbeid, leie husvære og tilgang til offentlige helsetjenester.

June 25, 2020. Bogota, Colombia: Angie Carolina Burgosa (33) has been in Colombia for four years. She has 10 children. In Venezuela the situation became hard for her family. Food shortages began to affect her children to the point that they had a faded fight. "They were dehydrated," she says. "When I saw my children like that, we went to a farm... to steal some cattle... and in this theft I was almost killed. I mean, it was a terrible thing because I did it for my kids." That's what precipitated his departure from the country. She walked away with six of his children. She thought she would find help from the father of his children, a Colombian who had been displaced for a long time in Venezuela, and returned to Colombia. "He told me that he was going to help me with the children but... he turned his back on me later. 
She stayed on the street for a while. And social services took their kids away from her. Now she is living in a slum called "Paraiso", Heaven, with four of her daughters, elderly of 10 months, 3 years, 4 years and her 16 year old daughter who is also mother of a 2 years old, and made Angie a 33 year old grandmother. They live in one room and there is no water. "I have pots full of water.it must have done something to me because I got bone pain, I got the flu. It made me very sick. Then I said, "My God, I have me the Covid! (...) I took a pill, and my daughter made me lemon water with sugar can. And that made me better. I was able to get out of bed. Because I couldn't get out of bed."
In Venezuela, she had this plan to have her own restaurant. "At night I would sell coffee on the road. And by day, working in a restaurant." In Colombia, she worked a time in a fruit shop. "The lady treated me badly and paid me 20,000 pesos (5 dollars) per day, and she told me that this was only what Venezuelans were paid... She always humiliated me. "
"I decided not to work for anyone, because I worked in a family home and I was treated badly too. So I decided to sell garbage bags to the traffic lights.(...) During the quarantine, one week it arrived that because we were locked up in the house, the girl did not have a teapot. So I said: What do I do?!! Let's go out! And we decided to go out and I met a man and he gave us a food package." 
"A little while ago, about 15 days ago, there, where I live in Paraiso, there is a big school and they were going to give out food packages. I went. Because maybe I'm not Colombian but I'm human. I'm Venezuelan but I'm human. I respect everyone. So I went. Come on, Angie! And then, I was there. A man came and said. No, you are Venezuelan. Bastard! Gonorrhea [Colombian insult]! I asked: Why you treat me like this if I'm not messing with you! He was an old man but I think he was drunk. And 15 people came... to try to stab! A guy grabbed my hand and we started running! Finally the police arrived and they didn't manage to stab us. So now, if they're going to give something, I don't go near them because I'm Venezuelan and they can attack me!"
A similar story happened to her a few days before, with two of his daughters playing in a park. She was stabbed a few times, and a shiner in her left eye, which can be seen in the photos. "Like everything else, they always say "Venecos", they call us "Gonorrhea". Then already, stabbed, bleeding and beaten... my daughters crying (...) I grabbed my daughters and left. (...) My daughters decided now to stay in the house, locked up; for on Sunday, they did not want to leave." Credit: Nadège Mazars for NRC
Les billedteksten Angie Carolina Burgosa (33) har vært i Colombia i fire år. Nå bor hun sammen med fire av døtrene sine i et slumkvarter utenfor hovedstaden Bogotá. Foto: Nadège Mazars / Flyktninghjelpen

Bor i slummen

Ti-barns-moren Angie Carolina Burgosa (33) forlot Venezuela og reiste til Colombia for fire år, da situasjonen i hjemlandet ble uutholdelig.  Matmangel førte til at barna ble avmagret og dehydrerte. I begynnelsen bodde hun på gaten. Da sosialtjenesten tok to av barna fra henne flyttet hun sammen med fire av døtrene til slumkvarteret "Paraiso", som på norsk kan oversettes med «paradiset». Hennes eldste datter er 16 og allerede mor til et to år gammelt barn.

June 25, 2020. Bogota, Colombia: Lisbeth Chiquinquira (53) is originally from Maracaibo. She has 7 children, of which only one is still in Venezuela. There, she has a little house. But in the five years she's been gone, the house has been abandoned. At first, she lived in Becceril, near the Colombian Caribbean coast with her sons and daughters. They were paid to keep a house; but when it was sold, Lisbeth came to Bogotá, a year and 7 months ago, with a daughter and two of her grandchildren, aged 12 and 9. "Here I am working selling coffee on the street. Thank God, I did very well last year but with this cvid-19 issue, I haven't been able to work. I go out with my thermos, but the covid with the coffees... it doesn't happen! People don't buy out of fear. Before in Venezuela, I worked in a family home, I was an employee." (...) “This year, yes, it has made me quite difficult. I don't have to give up my son who is in Venezuela, who has two children. Yesterday he called me and said: Mommy, I want to leave. But no! The situation is very difficult. Just to bring him to Maicao [on the Colombian side, near the northern border with Venezuela], they are charging 100 dollars. And from Maicao to Bogota... other money... And since they're not letting anyone through, I have him there, in great need." When asked what her hopes are, Lisbeth replies: "That my country will return to what it was and we will return! Yes, I am very grateful to many Colombians, but yes, I would like to return to my country. There is my family. There is my little house. I have a sister, I have nephews and nieces. I have faith in God that one day it has to happen. Each one of us must return to our own homes, to our own country. To live our life, as we lived it peacefully. Happy. We were very happy." Credit: Nadège Mazars for NRC
Les billedteksten Lisbeth Chiquinquira (53). Foto: Nadège Mazars/Flyktninghjelpen

Selger kaffe på gaten

Lisbeth Chiquinquira (53) er en mor til syv og opprinnelig fra Maracaibo i Venezuela.

- Her jobber jeg med å selge kaffe på gaten. Takk og lov, jeg gjorde det veldig bra i fjor, men etter pandemien har jeg vært uten inntekt. Jeg går ut med termosen min om morgenen, men folk er redde for viruset og lar være å kjøpe noe som helst, sier hun.

June 25, 2020. Bogota, Colombia: Lisbeth Chiquinquira (53) is receiving the cash aid in the form of a card given to her by a worker from the NRC team after checking her documents. She is originally from Maracaibo. She has 7 children, of which only one is still in Venezuela. There, she has a little house. But in the five years she's been gone, the house has been abandoned. At first, she lived in Becceril, near the Colombian Caribbean coast with her sons and daughters. They were paid to keep a house; but when it was sold, Lisbeth came to Bogotá, a year and 7 months ago, with a daughter and two of her grandchildren, aged 12 and 9. "Here I am working selling coffee on the street. Thank God, I did very well last year but with this cvid-19 issue, I haven't been able to work. I go out with my thermos, but the covid with the coffees... it doesn't happen! People don't buy out of fear. Before in Venezuela, I worked in a family home, I was an employee." (...) “This year, yes, it has made me quite difficult. I don't have to give up my son who is in Venezuela, who has two children. Yesterday he called me and said: Mommy, I want to leave. But no! The situation is very difficult. Just to bring him to Maicao [on the Colombian side, near the northern border with Venezuela], they are charging 100 dollars. And from Maicao to Bogota... other money... And since they're not letting anyone through, I have him there, in great need." When asked what her hopes are, Lisbeth replies: "That my country will return to what it was and we will return! Yes, I am very grateful to many Colombians, but yes, I would like to return to my country. There is my family. There is my little house. I have a sister, I have nephews and nieces. I have faith in God that one day it has to happen. Each one of us must return to our own homes, to our own country. To live our life, as we lived it peacefully. Happy. We were very happy." Credit: Nadège Mazars for NRC
Les billedteksten En av Flyktninghjelpens ansatte deler ut et kort til Lisbeth Chiquinquira (53), slik at hun kan få utbetalt kontanter. Foto: Nadège Mazars / Flyktninghjelpen

En av sønnene hennes ble igjen i Venezuela, der familien har et lite hus.

- Jeg forteller ham stadig at han ikke må komme hit, slik situasjonen er nå. I går ringte han meg og sa: «Mamma, jeg vil dra». Men nei. Situasjonen er veldig vanskelig også her. Bare for å få ham over grensen må vi ut med 100 USD. På grunn av pandemien er også mange grenseoverganger stengt.

June 25, 2020. Bogota, Colombia: When asked what has changed with the covid for him, Javier David Mendez Salcedo (28) answers, with a look of panic that he keeps during the interview: "Everything has changed! I'm practically in a street situation. I'm not really selling anything." He's living in downtown Bogota with his wife and two kids. He rents a small room, with a shared bathroom and kitchen, which they must pay for every day. He brings in 14,000 pesos every afternoon, a little under 4 dollars. And every day it is very difficult to get it. They threatened him several times with eviction. "It's my turn to bring what comes out now. Well, once I'm done here, I'll go to work." He's selling candy on the buses.
In Venezuela, he was a network technician, in charge of alarms, security cameras, everything related to automation. But the job went away. And he left too with his family, "trying to find a future there. (...) I have children and really, the important thing, was that, a main motivation" to go to Peru. And then return to Colombia. "Of course, I've lost a lot of hope because it's really difficult. Before the covid, at least March, December, January, February, I was not happy but I had to pay for a room, at least to have a plate of food for my children every day.  At this moment, the truth, well... if I have breakfast, not lunch. Lunch, no breakfast. And so, really, it's difficult."
And how to protect yourself against Covid? "Right now, it's normal soap. Because I don't have money to buy it. Tapaboca, yes, but the essential"
"To be displaced, the worst thing is xenophobia. A Venezuelan is a thief to everyone. Difficult this part." 6 days ago, "a policeman asked me for a requisition for the mass transport (Transmilenio). He beat me up because he wanted to take my goods.  As it's a biological risk, it's forbidden to sell. The truth... it was my turn... to defend myself. And he hit me and took me to the police station. I stayed there for 72 hours... and the children were starving."
By being displaced, "I also discovered that... the truth... that everything in life is not money. Material things. That there are things that are more important. Like family. Which is more important than money. It can be more valuable to be a partner with someone else." Credit: Nadège Mazars for NRC
Les billedteksten Javier David Mendez Salcedo (28) prøver å tjene penger på å selge godterier på bussene. Foto: Nadège Mazars / Flyktninghjelpen

Selger sukkertøy på bussene

- Etter pandemien har alt endret seg. Jeg selger ikke noe, sier Javier David Mendez Salcedo (28), som prøver å tjene til livets opphold ved å selge godteri på bussene. Han leier et lite rom med felles bad og kjøkken i sentrum av Bogotá, hvor han bor sammen med sin kone og to barn.

Javier tjener omlag 14.000 pesos på en dag. Noe som tilsvarer litt under 40 norske kroner. Husleien betales i daglige rater, og når den er betalt er det ikke mange slanter han sitter igjen med. 

Hjemme i Venezuela var Javier ansatt som tekniker i et firma som solgte og installerte sikkerhetsalarmer.

Hvis jeg er heldig, kan jeg gi barna mine ett måltid om dagen.
Javier David Mendez Salcedo (28)

- Vi blir sett på som tyver

- Da jeg mistet jobben, dro vi hit for å skaffe oss arbeid og en bedre fremtid. I begynnelsen klarte vi å betale for både husleie og mat samt andre nødvendighetsartikler. Etter at viruset rammet, har jeg ikke engang penger til såpe for å vaske hendene. Og hvis jeg er heldig, kan jeg gi barna mine ett måltid om dagen.

Javier forteller at det verste er fremmedfrykten. - Her blir alle venezuelanere sett på som tyver. For seks dager siden ble jeg arrestert og holdt fengslet i 72 timer, uten at jeg hadde gjort noe kriminelt. Hjemme satt kona og barna og sultet.

Les mer om Venezuela og neglisjerte kriser.