One of the biggest challenges for Venezuelans living in displacement in Latin America is lack of access to education for children and youth. The Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) carried out a survey last year of Venezuelan children across Brazil, Colombia and Ecuador and found that 48 per cent were out of school due to overcrowded classrooms in host communities. Thirty-five per cent said that they cannot afford education costs, while 8 per cent stated that they spend their time working to support their families. A projected over 400,000 children are estimated to be out of school in the three countries today.
“The children we talk to, who have their whole lives ahead of them, tell us that they desperately want to go back to school,” said Visnes.
4,6 million Venezuelans are displaced across Latin American countries, with an average of 4,000 people leaving Venezuela every day. By the end of 2020 this number will raise to 5.5 million. Some 25 per cent of displaced Venezuelans in the region are children.
Despite the efforts of host countries to respond to growing needs, displaced Venezuelans continue to face serious barriers trying to rebuild their lives.
“Governments in the region must provide school spaces for all Venezuelan children who are in danger of being left behind and vulnerable to exploitation,” said Visnes.
This week, governments from Latin America are meeting in Colombia to address the needs of the migrants and refugees across the region.
“We urge all host governments present at next week’s conference to commit to ensuring immediate access to school for all Venezuelans in the region and adopt measures to make this effective. No Venezuelan child should be left out of school,” said Visnes.