VenInformado connected entrepreneur Hary Silva to seed capital and business development resources. She has successfully launched a women’s clothing and accessories enterprise called Saudihar Creaciones out of her home.

VenInformado: Holistic programming for refugees and migrants in Peru

  • Robin Schmid
  • Jun 17, 2022

Since 2017, six million Venezuelans have fled the economic and political crisis crippling their country. Over one million Venezuelans have reached Peru after an arduous journey and are trying to restart their lives despite limited resources on how to navigate Peru’s civil systems and cultural differences.

To help these Venezuelan refugees and migrants flourish in their new home, Lutheran World Relief (LWR) works to foster their integration into Peruvian society. With the support of UNHCR and funding from the Centre for Disaster Philanthropy and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, LWR established and continues to expand our digital platform VenInformado, which provides migrants with critical, accurate and up-to-date information and personalized virtual legal, psychosocial, health and livelihoods support.

With the integration of technology and extension services, the VenInformado platform is a model for comprehensive, holistic programming. LWR works in close collaboration with local partners Encuentros - Servicio Jesuita a Migrantes (Encuentros SJS) and the Centro de Atención Psicosocial (CAPS) to provide free guidance on topics ranging from COVID-19 protections and regulations, legal requirements for refugee and residency status, mental health resources, gender-based violence support, and mentorship and seed capital for starting new businesses.

As we honor World Refugee Day, we are taking a look at the multi-faceted components of VenInformado that are supporting refugees and migrants in their host country.

Legal Assistance

VenInformado expands access to legal assistance for migrants in Peru and provides information on the evolving requirements for valid legal status. Even during lockdown restrictions due to COVID-19, more migrants and refugees had access to an online help desk with one-on-one legal support through the platform.

With the expertise of the legal team of our local partner Encuentros SJS, migrants and refugees receive free legal advice and regular follow-up. The legal team accompanies migrants and refugees throughout their cases.

The online portal for legal support is VenInformado’s flagship service with 80 percent of the inquiries received by the platform related to legal issues.

The platform's resources are helping families establish themselves in Peru as they work to create a new life. This was the case for a young family who fled Venezuela and was able to secure the legal support they needed to work in Peru through the platform.

Sustainable livelihoods

With the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic and the reality of xenophobia, there are heightened challenges for migrants to access regular employment. This has paved the way for entrepreneurship to become an important avenue for sustainable livelihoods.

Not only are small-scale enterprises supporting families, but they allow new migrants and refugees to harness their intellectual capital as their skills and professional degrees that had previously been accepted in Venezuela can now be recognized in Peru.

Two years ago, VenInformado launched #EmprendedorInformado (#InformedEntrepreneur), an initiative to support the business development of migrants. Across VenInformado channels, guidance was shared around practical topics including entrepreneurial skills, finance, marketing and business strategy with support from local partners Encuentros SJS and Equilibrium - Social Development Consulting.

VenInformado also has extension programming through local partner Encuentros SJS that helps Venezuelan migrants and refugees in Peru develop small businesses by providing seed capital and training in entrepreneurship.

Thanks to this support, entrepreneur Hary Silva has successfully launched a women’s clothing and accessories business called Saudihar Creaciones out of her home. She began operations making women’s lingerie and has expanded to include macrame clothing and sandals, bathing suits, hats, scarves, earrings, headbands and much more.

We also continue to support research from the Universidad Antonio Ruiz de Montoya on migrant integration into Peruvian society, including how Venezuelan women are integrating into Peru during COVID-19.

Mental health

The free digital platform was created to inform and guide migrants and refugees on migration issues, reducing the gap in access to information and promoting sustainable solutions for local integration. LWR soon learned that to provide greater support and promote integration into society, the platform also needed to prioritize mental health.

In October 2020, VenInformado launched a new feature that focused on psychosocial and emotional health by collaborating with CAPS, a local nonprofit that advocates for mental health care for people affected by political and social violence. Together, LWR and CAPS created the channel #SaludableMente (#HealthyMind), a space that addresses various issues around change, grief, depression, violence, xenophobia and other important content to empower and encourage conversations around emotional well-being with migrants and refugees. 

The platform’s mental health efforts are supported with thematic articles, weekly publications and live webinars. Recently, we launched VenInformado Contigo, a podcast that allows us to connect with the platform's followers in an innovative way.

VenInformado houses resources on coping with emotional trauma and provides contact information for public institutions and the wider humanitarian network that users can be referred to for additional assistance.

The legs of a man, child and woman are shown as they walk on a narrow street

A family who had access to legal support through VenInformado takes a walk close to their new home.

Gender-based violence

Even before COVID-19, Venezuelans residing in Peru faced an elevated risk of physical violence and psychological violence. The pandemic has only worsened rates of gender-based violence (GBV).

VenInformado is combatting GBV by providing migrants and refugees in Peru with increased access to accurate information on legal services, rights, social services and support for survivors. Communications about GBV prevention are targeted at vulnerable populations through our platform, including information that connects survivors with psychosocial support and case management services from local partner CAPS.

As a result of this partnership, GBV survivors can receive direct guidance from CAPS' team of social workers and psychologists, referral to other legal and public services and case accompaniment.

COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the critical role that digital tools play in enabling the 1.3 million Venezuelan refugees in Peru to access protection and health services safely and efficiently.

VenInformado responded to the increasingly difficult situation of refugees and migrants during the pandemic by expanding information on legal services and livelihoods, as well as adding a new health window on COVID-19 to facilitate access to information related to diagnostic tests, treatment, prevention measures and vaccination, thus combating the misinformation and fear that has been generated around the pandemic. In addition, the project's consultant infectious disease doctor has provided free guidance to health consultations received through the various channels of the platform.

A hand holds a cellphone

A Venezuelan migrant uses the VenInformado app in her home in Peru.

Holistic programming

The VenInformado platform is a one-stop shop for critical, accurate information for Venezuelan migrants and refugees in Peru. Through its personalized one-on-one support portal, VenInformado has responded to over 36,000 legal, health, livelihoods and psychosocial inquiries since its launch in 2018.

With holistic programming that addresses the multi-faceted implications of starting a new life as a migrant or refugee, VenInformado shows how technology and local partnership can work hand-in-hand to create innovative, scalable development solutions.   

 

Website: www.veninformado.pe

Facebook: VenInformado

Instagram: VenInformado

YouTube: VenInformado

Spotify: VenInformado Contigo

CREATED BY
Robin Schmid, Jun 17, 2022 email

 

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