ADRA Colombia

ADRA Colombia distributes 1,100 sets of personal hygiene items among Venezuelan migrants

June 23, 2021 | ADRA Colombia Press.

Under the motto “Justice, Compassion, and Love,” the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) in Colombia recently distributed 1,100 sets of personal hygiene items to Venezuelan migrants in the northern town of Arauquita, in the Arauca Department. The sets, distributed by ADRA workers and volunteers, will benefit 1,100 Venezuelan families who were displaced after conflicts arose in the area, and they moved to the border city of 43,000 inhabitants in search of refuge.

According to Jair Flórez, director of ADRA Colombia, the displaced migrants have been accommodated in various local government shelters distributed throughout the city. “Thanks to ADRA’s efforts over five days, 1,100 families are now better prepared to face current challenges,” he expressed.

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ADRA Colombia volunteers begin distributing sets of personal hygiene items to 1,100 Venezuelan migrants in the northern town of Arauquita in Arauca, Colombia, in April 2021. Thousands of Venezuelans have crowded that Colombian border city seeking refuge after fleeing the economic crisis in their home country. [Photograph: ADRA Colombia]

The sets included toothbrushes for adults and children, toothpaste, deodorant, and soap, as reported by ADRA. They also included a comb, laundry soap, sanitary wipes, and diapers.

Flórez explained that the initiative was funded through a partnership between various regional offices, including ADRA International, which allocated $10,000 for the project. ADRA Inter-America contributed an additional $7,000, and the Colombian North Union Association sent another $3,000 to fund the initiative. The GARSA Rescue team traveled to Arauquita to support the local church members and volunteer laity in distributing the sets to the needy families.

This is not the first time that ADRA Colombia has been dedicated to helping migrants arriving in Colombia from Venezuela. Since 2018, the agency has been working on various projects to meet the basic needs of the displaced. In one of those projects in 2019, ADRA invested $2.5 million over seven months to provide basic sets of personal hygiene items and healthcare to thousands of migrants arriving from Venezuela. That same year, ADRA also supported other groups and organizations assisting with the influx of migrants, including some indigenous communities in the north who received the newcomers. Last year, ADRA Colombia established a mobile clinic along a main route to offer medical assistance to migrants who decided to walk north for days to return to Venezuela during the countrywide quarantine.

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An ADRA volunteer distributes a set of personal hygiene items to a female head of household in Arauquita in the northern border city of Arauquita, Colombia, recently. [Photograph: ADRA Colombia]

According to government statistics, by the end of 2020, there were over 1,740,000 displaced Venezuelans living in Colombia, which presents significant logistical and humanitarian challenges to officials and aid agencies.

In that demanding context, ADRA Colombia is known for having a long history of active participation in initiatives that have benefited thousands of needy individuals, addressing their basic needs, including free medical care, Flórez reported. He shared the story of a woman who recently sent a letter to ADRA after receiving free medical consultations. She wrote, “Thank you, ADRA, for supporting so many people, especially those in need of medical attention.” The woman explained that she had been ill and had been unable to get medical attention. “But then I wrote to ADRA, and they soon helped me get the necessary medical tests to receive a diagnosis,” she said. “Thank you, ADRA, because when I felt that no one cared and that I would soon be dead, they gave me hope to live again.”

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Each set of personal hygiene items includes toothbrushes, toothpaste, deodorants, and soap for adults and children, as well as a comb, laundry soap, sanitary napkins, and diapers. [Photograph: ADRA Colombia]

Flórez emphasized that the agency is always ready to assist others in times of need, whether due to natural disasters or other crises. Many of these initiatives, he explained, are made possible through joint projects and the loyalty of many anonymous donors. “We want to thank every person who supports us, every volunteer, and every donor who makes it possible for ADRA to fulfill its mission of aid,” said Flórez. “The support from everyone has allowed us to meet the basic needs of many people and share the message of hope.”