Washington, D.C. (Oct. 30, 2017)– The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Canada, the Honourable Chrystia Freeland, announced Thursday at a meeting of the Lima Group in Toronto that the Government of Canada and the Pan American Development Foundation (PADF) will partner to improve education and medical facilities for Venezuelan migrants and refugees in the Brazilian state of Roraima.
In the wake of the political, economic and humanitarian crises in Venezuela, an estimated 30,000 Venezuelans have emigrated to Brazil, and the majority have settled in the northern state of Roraima. They urgently need shelter, medical care, education and other services. Thanks to Canada’s support, PADF will provide a school and a medical clinic to the state’s largest shelter, the Immigrant Reference Center, located in the state capital Boa Vista.
“Venezuelans fleeing poor conditions have sought refuge in Boa Vista,” said Luisa Villegas, Deputy Senior Programs Director of PADF. “However, local systems have been strained by the influx of recent arrivals. The new clinic and school will create private and dedicated spaces for learning and medical attention, serving hundreds of people displaced by the crisis in their home country.”
“We must continue to support the Venezuelan people – in the defense of their human rights, and in their basic human needs,” said Hon. Chrystia Freeland, P.C., M.P., Minister of Foreign Affairs, Canada. “And in light of the fact that the effects of the crisis have spread beyond Venezuela’s borders, Canada will also provide approximately CAD $35,000 to improve health and education services provided to the 480 Venezuelans sheltered at the Immigrant Reference Center in Boa Vista, Brazil.”
Facilities provided by PADF will be complete with modern amenities, classroom materials and medical supplies. The current shelter space has been converted from a gymnasium to a shelter and lacks dedicated medical and educational space.
The Immigrant Reference Center is operated by missionary volunteers from Fraternidade – International Humanitarian Federation. It is the largest shelter in Roraima and currently provides housing to 480 Venezuelan refugees and migrants, approximately three quarters of whom are indigenous. About half are under age 18. The school and clinic are two of the Center’s many needs given the influx of newcomers requiring assistance.
This assistance is part of PADF’s larger effort to respond to the Venezuelan refugee and migrant crisis in Brazil. As a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization affiliated with the Organization of American States, PADF is leading an international campaign to assist local institutional institutions and relief efforts and has launched a campaign to raise US$100,000 to support local shelters and displaced Venezuelans through contributions from government institutions, foundations, philanthropists and individuals.
For more information about this project, visit www.padf.org/helpmigrants