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PERU: Venezuelan migrants find shelter, support

More than 700 youth have passed through Don Bosco House


(MissionNewswire) Don Bosco House, in the Magdalena del Mar neighborhood in Lima, Peru, was established to provide support for the wave of Venezuelan migrants who came to the city in 2018 and 2019. Today, it is a shelter that houses 45 young migrants and refugees between the ages of 18 and 25, as well as five families who are faced with extreme poverty. More than 700 youth have passed through Don Bosco House in recent years, including youth from Ecuador and Colombia.

Devastating inflation hit Venezuela in 2017, exceeding 2,000% and bringing a devaluation of the country’s currency (bolivar) by 97.6%. This has forced Venezuelans to migrate due to a lack of jobs or decent wages. According to a recent report by the International Organization for Migration (IOM), there are 1.3 million Venezuelans in Peru, constituting the largest foreign community in Peru. Peru has the second largest number of Venezuelan migrants in the world after Colombia. The large flow of migration has brought new social, labor and economic challenges for Peru.

At Don Bosco House, youth have the support of educators and psychologists, and they live in a family atmosphere that fosters personal and spiritual growth. These youth have experienced abandonment, separation, child labor and prison experiences.

Youth go through four phases of support at the house. During their introduction, Salesian staff spend time getting to know them, their background and what motivated them to seek support. After that, they get settled in and learn the dynamics of the house and what’s expected of them.

Once settled, youth look for work with the support of resume preparation and research. Youth also attend group training and have access to recreation, a music room and the internet. As youth become more independent, they are expected to take on household responsibilities and commitments. For youth who arrive with their families, work is done to help the family unit as they all get settled.

“The influx of migrants created many challenges for those forced to flee from Venezuela and for Peruvian communities that were not prepared,” said Father Timothy Ploch, interim director of Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. “Salesians have done what they can to provide support and services for migrants living in poverty, especially youth. The goal of the Don Bosco House is always to teach skills so youth and their families will one day live an independent life and be self-supporting.”

Peru faces high levels of income inequality and has more than a quarter of its population living in poverty, according to the World Bank. Poverty levels are significantly higher in rural areas but urban areas struggle most with inequality, most notably metropolitan Lima. Poverty in the country is made worse by a shortage of productive farmland and a lack of job skills among women entering the workforce, as well as a lack of adequate housing, nutrition and education.



ANS Photo (usage permissions and guidelines must be requested from ANS)

ANS – Peru – A valuable accompaniment to children of Magdalena del Mar

Salesian Missions – Peru

World Bank – Peru

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