It may have come a little late, but more than 100 children of Venezuelan migrants received gifts on January 6 when they celebrated the bible story of the magi — the presentation of gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh by the three kings of the Orient to the infant Jesus shortly after his birth n Bethlehem. The celebrations was organised and hosted by the Hispanic Cultural Centre (HCC), Arima.
Director of the centre, Andreina Briceño Brown signalled the intention of the establishment to utilise the occasion and other Venezuelan traditions as a way to promote better relations between TT nationals and the many Venezuelan migrants who have had to seek refuge here because of the parlous economic situation in their homeland. Brown believes that during 2020 it will be essential to promote plans that are linked to the formation of good citizens and better human beings in both groups.
She told Sunday Newsday about the cultural programmes carded for this year, acknowledging that coexistence between locals and refugees is possible.
"As children, we Venezuelans make various traditions and the arrival of the magi every January 6, is one of them that greatly inspire children. So our idea is to try to keep this beautiful story in Trinidad and Tobago."
Part of the HCC programme for 2020 will be to continue promoting education by complementing it with cultural and sporting activities involving migrants more with the TT community.
She said in the coming months Venezuelan children will be exposed a little more to TT's culture and traditions, combining them with those of her country. She said music will be a fundamental pillar in this plan. The drums, the maracas and the Venezuelan cuatro will be mixed with the TT musical instruments.
“There is a programme of visits to schools and local institutions that have already sent us invitations for our children to go and show part of the things we do in Venezuela, (like) music, dance among other activities.”
During this 2020, she said, the HCC will also take participants to various parts of TT so can see and experience as much of the country as they can.
"We have already made contacts with a music school in Chaguanas so that children can receive classes, as well as steelband schools," Brown said.
She noted that carrying out these programmes requires the support of everyone, especially public and private institutions.
“In the last two or three years we have received a lot of support from people, from non-governmental institutions. They have donated materials and equipment so that children can develop their talents,” she said.
"The HCC will continue to receive musical instruments, contributions for transportation payments among other needs to maintain the plans. There are many local people who believe in us, who know what we have been doing for the education of refugee children who have not yet been able to enter a complete study system, so it is necessary that our programmes continue."
She said for the celebration of the Three Wise Men day several local people contributed gifts, sweets and other materials.
"Many locals make donations without advertising," Brown revealed.
"They do it because they want to help and set an example that they can be good neighbours and good human beings with Venezuelans who are currently having a bad time in their country and are forced to seek peace, health and food in other countries.
caption: More than 100 Venezuelan children received gifts during the celebration of the Magi at the Hispanic Cultural Centre, Arima, on January 6.