In 2020, PADF maximized efforts to promote sustainable livelihoods for Venezuelan migrants and Persons in Need of International Protection in Colombia. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic and its effects on Colombia’s residents, PADF was able to connect migrants with skills and employment training, as well as job opportunities to support themselves and continue contributing to their host communities.
A total of 3,146 people strengthened their life skills through training on self-reliance, communication, leadership, and teamwork, leading to improved capacities and better employment opportunities. In addition, 838 refugees and migrants received targeted training in construction, customer service, sales, use of Excel, English, food handling, sewing, and other technical skills.
Aman Salazar is a 30-year-old Venezuelan migrant who moved to Colombia three years ago, leaving behind his wife and daughter. He moved in with roommates in Bogota and held informal jobs, saving enough to finally bring his family to Colombia a year ago.
Aman was identified by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) employment program, as a candidate to receive training on soft skills and job guidance. Aman went through the PADF-led training after which program counselors helped him register with the public employment agency and he eventually was hired by the company Brilladora el Diamante S.A. As a member of the cleaning crew, he has a formal contract and a fixed monthly salary. The program also provided a transportation subsidy, biosafety tools, and a uniform. Now, Aman has a steady income and can maintain his family.
Walter Canelón is a 36-year-old Venezuelan migrant who moved to Arauca, Colombia, two years ago in search of economic stability for his family. He worked as a courier without legal status.
He was introduced to the UNHCR program implemented by PADF through its legal counseling services, where he learned about his rights, required documentation to obtain legal status, and benefits such as education, healthcare, and formal employment.
Thanks to Walter’s impeccable work ethic and professionalism, his employer decided to offer him a formal contract, through which he obtained a special work permit offered to Venezuelan migrants.
Walter now receives the minimum wage and all the benefits associated with legal employment, including social security.
The stories of Aman and Walter are just two examples of the hundreds of migrants PADF has helped through its programs promoting sustainable livelihoods – by providing job-related training and placement support, helping entrepreneurs launch new businesses, and helping migrants settle in and contribute to the economic development of their host communities.