THE first cohort of Venezuelan migrant and refugee women graduated on May 6 from the Venezuelan Integration and Development Association’s (VIDA) pilot project that trained the women in home-based gardening, agribusiness and conversational English.
With the support of the Santa Rosa and Malabar Roman Catholic parishes' Migrants and Refugees Ministry and the Automation and Technology College, VIDA spearheaded the four-month initiative to integrate and develop migrant and refugee communities in Arima and environs, a release said.
VIDA plans to train multiple cohorts throughout the year to develop food security in vulnerable migrant and refugee communities living in TT.
VIDA’s project coordinator Nazireh Reis said, “The most vulnerable sectors of the migrant and refugee communities were targeted…Women and mothers, many of whom live in urban areas, who may not have access to farming land, far less gardening space in the small apartments they rent in and also have limited time to do such activities due to (being) single-parents or work constraints.”
VIDA said they intend to launch courses to train migrant and refugee women in beauty culture and will offer free English classes and translation services to students. In addition, VIDA plans to host market days for its students trained in agri-business that they hope will foster “cooperation and brotherhood” between migrants and locals.
“We are planning to host market days for the students of our agri-business project and other migrants and refugees to sell what they have harvested from their vertical gardens. Not only that, but we want to promote the entrepreneurial spirit of these communities and showcase their talent in other areas such as fashion, food, handicrafts, etc. at these market days,” said VIDA coordinator Lourdes Chirino.
“Locals are also invited. We must remember that we are in this together. We want to promote cooperation and brotherhood among both Venezuelan and other migrants and our host community.”
The release said the Automation Technology College, one of VIDA’s key partners, provided certification for the agri-business course and the college’s principal Dr Sandra West, and director Ryan West were instrumental in the project’s development. Dr. West said the college has given solar, agriculture and information technology courses while partnering with organisation’s like the Ministry of National Security, Vision on Mission, the National Domestic Violence Shelter and St Jude's School for Girls.
For those who wish to volunteer or contribute to the project, VIDA Project coordinators can be contacted via WhatsApp or telephone at (868) 718-1849. They can also be contacted on Instagram with the social media handle @vida_proyecto and @vida_ngo_tt and on Facebook at VIDA NGO TT.