Venezuelan refugees find help, meals

Food distribution to refugees at Alberque Douglas center
Volunteers from Albergue Douglas distribution center provide food for people in Pamplona, Colombia in the winter of 2021.

By Cristal Montañéz Baylor, International Coordinator for Hope for Venezuelan Refugees and a member of the Rotary E-club of Houston, Texas, USA

It is immensely gratifying to witness children, in the midst of crisis, smiling again over a shared meal. Your heart is touched as you sense their parents’ tension ease and see expressions of hope radiate across their faces.

Article 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights establishes access to food as a fundamental human right. And access to food continues to be a focal point of the Venezuelan humanitarian crisis.

We are in the fifth phase of the Hope for Venezuelan Refugees project, which is providing hot “soup meals” to Venezuelan refugees, migrants, and walkers (also known as “caminantes”) on the Cúcuta-Pamplona humanitarian route.

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How RYLA changed my life

Daniel Eduardo Zavala is a District Rotaract Representative. Taking part in a Rotary Youth Leadership Awards event set him down a path of Rotary service.

By Daniel Eduardo Zavala, Rotaract Club of San Joaquin, Venezuela

In 2010, I had my first exposure to Rotary during a Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA) event in San Cristobal, a beautiful city in my country of Venezuela. A secretary at the university I was attending recommended that I would get a lot out of the event scheduled for the following weekend, and being up for adventure, I said yes. I remember that day like it was yesterday. Continue reading

My new life fighting malaria

A happy recipient of one of the specially designed mosquito nets.

A happy recipient of one of the specially designed bed nets.

By Steve Baker, a member of the Rotary Club of Key Biscayne, Florida, USA.

When my wife and I lived in Caracas, Venezuela, from 2001 to 2006, I spent many months traveling on the Rio Alto Ventuari in Amazonas State, staying in indigenous villages. The Ye’kuana people I met still lived traditional lives, the women tending their small slash and burn gardens, the men hunting and fishing. I saw firsthand how they were affected by western- introduced diseases their shamans could not deal with. In particular, malaria sickened and sometimes killed them. Continue reading