In Venezuela, where the protracted socio-economic crisis affects the most vulnerable communities, effective humanitarian assistance is critical. In response to this worrisome situation, CESVI – in collaboration with a consortium composed of Alliance2015 member Acted, COOPI, Solidarité International, Premiere Urgence International – has launched the project “Multisectoral humanitarian assistance to address the urgent needs of the most vulnerable people in Venezuela,” funded by the European Union and aimed at improving the lives of people in vulnerable conditions in the states of Zulia and Falcon, Delta Amacuro, Bolivar, Districto Capital, Sucre, and Apure.

CESVI is actively engaged in the protection of vulnerable people, with a focus on preventing and responding to gender-based violence (GBV) and trafficking in the states of Zulia and Falcon. With local partners Rehabilitarte and Azul Positivo, CESVI ensures a comprehensive response to victims in the states of Zulia and Falcon, through case management activities, strengthening of integrated support systems, temporary housing services for GBV and VbG, psychological, legal, prevention strategies, and capacity building for authorities and community leaders.

One of the main goals is to improve the access of survivors and people at risk to comprehensive protection services. Through social work services, CESVI wants to support those most affected by gender-based violence and trafficking by offering them a pathway to physical and mental health restoration and the restoration of their human rights.

Involving local authorities, teachers, NGOs and service providers from civil society organizations, we conduct training sessions on preventing, reducing and responding to violence against women and trafficking, with the aim of creating a well-informed and prepared society.

In addition to protection interventions, access to quality sexual and reproductive health and health services is provided. Indeed, in collaboration with Azul Positivo, we work to improve access to basic health services in line with international standards. CESVI also provides sexual and reproductive health counselling, information, and services, including the promotion of family planning practices and outreach and orientation activities.

This humanitarian project is a critical step in addressing the urgent needs of the most vulnerable populations and serves as a beacon of hope for the Venezuelan population, fostering positive change and helping to rebuild many lives.

Among the women that have been supported with a mental health support pathway is Escarleth, a 21-year-old woman, part of the seven million Venezuelans who have migrated in search of a better quality of life, but the episode she experienced later brought her back to Venezuela with her husband and three-year-old daughter.

Escarleth was the victim of attempted abuse last year in Colombia when she was returning home with her little daughter. After the incident she recounts, “I was not eating or sleeping, I was always nervous, I could hear the door and I wanted to run away.” She thus decided to return to Venezuela on the advice of her daughter’s psychopedagogist. During an activity on gender-based violence prevention, she relived within herself what had happened to her in the Colombian capital and concluded that she needed a mental health specialist to listen to her, she wanted to get the tools to overcome what she had experienced, so she turned to our case management team, which offered her multidisciplinary accompaniment.

“I feel much better, I’m a different person now, I don’t think about it as much,” Escarleth said happily.

Today Escarleth has a goal: she wants to become a forensic doctor and has already started the paperwork to begin her higher studies; the smile on her face confirms her determination to achieve them.

Escarleth is one of the many survivors of gender-based violence who have decided to speak out and seek help, and she is proof of how early listening and support in such cases can make a difference in a person’s life journey and help them be reborn.

Author: CESVI.

August 2023

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