Your NPR news source
Migrants receive food from a passerby on the Pamplona-Cucuta highway near the Los Acacios toll outside of Cucuta in Norte de Santander, Colombia, Sunday, April 14, 2024.

Venezuelan migrants receive food from a volunteer with On the Ground International on the Pamplona-Cúcuta highway outside the Colombian border city of Cúcuta on April 14, 2024.

Anthony Vazquez/Sun-Times

How to help Venezuelan migrants in Colombia

Many nonprofit groups are bringing humanitarian and other aid to impoverished Venezuelan migrants starting over in a new country.

These nonprofit groups in Colombia support Venezuelan migrants in a number of important ways: providing legal counseling; fighting xenophobia; providing shelter, food and education; training community leaders; and investigating abuse. All organizations listed here have websites where you can get more information about volunteering or contributing to their missions.

  • El Barómetro offers international fellowships to use web-crawling software for finding xenophobia in news reports and on social media.
The small, relatively poor South American country has received four times more Venezuelans than the United States but offers a path to integration. We went to see it.

  • Human Rights Watch investigates abuses in all corners of the world, including Colombia and Venezuela. A recent report focuses on the Darién Gap.
  • On the Ground International organizes volunteers to work with local partners to provide meals and other aid to Venezuelan refugees walking across Colombia.
  • Save the Children, working in Colombia since 1963, responds to the region’s humanitarian disasters.
  • World Vision provides Venezuelan migrants and vulnerable Colombians food, education, health, shelter and hygiene resources.

MULTIMEDIA: Photographer Anthony Vazquez and reporter Chip Mitchell encountered 12 caminantes, or walkers, near the beginning of a journey from their Venezuelan hometown to an impossibly faraway destination.

What drove migrants from Venezuela: Since 2014, about 7.7 million Venezuelans have left their country to escape an economic collapse. Colombia has received more of these migrants than any other country.
How Venezuelan migrants cross into Colombia: Venezuelan migrants often lack passports to enter Colombia legally. So they cross on illegal foot trails controlled by criminal groups. As in the United States, border communities in Colombia are grappling with how to handle migrants.
The xenophobia Venezuelan migrants face: Colombia’s Venezuelan influx has led to accusations the migrants are fueling crime and drawing resources needed by low-income Colombians. This resembles some responses to Venezuelan arrivals in Chicago.
Integration in the face of marginalization: In Chicago, migrants are desperate for easier access to work authorization. Colombia shows how it can be done.

The Latest
Migrants forced to leave a city shelter after 60 days can return, but many are reluctant. Some fear ending up on the streets because they can’t work.
WBEZ reporters covering migrants in Colombia and the U.S. detail the vastly different integration efforts in the two countries.
How the Lugo family, who moved to Bogotá in 2018, successfully entered the mainstream economy.
Seventeen-year-old Desiré Borges talks about the painful experience of bullying at her school in Colombia.