The world’s largest contributor of humanitarian assistance has approved an estimated €2.7m (US$3.3m) in funds for the protection, education and health of Venezuelan refugee and migrant children in Trinidad and Tobago, Brazil, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, and Peru.
The European Commission’s humanitarian aid department of the Directorate General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations approved the project, a release on Monday from the Delegation of the European Union (EU) to TT said.
The project runs until March 31, 2022, and the implementing partner is the UN Children’s Fund.
The release quoted chargé d’Affaires of the delegation, Sanjin Soldatic, saying Venezuela is experiencing a difficult socio-economic situation.
As a result, Soldatic said more than 5.2 million Venezuelans now live outside the country, with the numbers growing strongly over the last year.
"The legal status of Venezuelans, which determines their right to work and to access basic services, varies across the region," Soldatic said.
"Consequently, migration is placing significant pressures on institutions, service provision systems, the labour market and the social dynamics of the receiving countries in a time of covid."
This includes, he said, the overflow of demand for services such as health, housing, education, social protection and water and sanitation, among others.
Soldatic said: "These are precisely the areas in which the EU seeks to improve the standard of living of refugee and migrant children."
In addition to this project to help children, the EU is implementing two projects in TT. The release said the projects address the day-to-day challenges faced by refugees and migrants from Venezuela and the host communities.
One project is Response to Recovery – Covid19: Reducing vulnerability: enhancing resilience for migrant population. This project has been implemented as part of the Team Europe response to covid19 through a direct grant to the TT Red Cross Society.
The project aims at providing support to the migrants who do not have access to the social protection measures. The project is co-financed by the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The other project relates to fostering local communities of solidarity for refugees and migrants from Venezuela.
Over the next three years, it is being implemented in six countries — Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Dominican Republic, Panama and TT — and ten cities, including Chaguanas, at the cost of €16 million.
This project is being implemented by UN Habitat, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, and the International Organization for Migration.