Neglected Venezuelan Children
Due to hyperinflation and political instability, Venezuela is facing a humanitarian crisis that has pushed thousands of citizens to flee the country in search of refuge elsewhere. According to the National Survey of Living Conditions (Encovi), 76.6% of Venezuelans endured extreme poverty in 2021. Venezuelan children face the disproportionate impacts of extreme impoverishment as their basic needs go unfulfilled. Hogar Bambi Venezuela prioritizes the well-being of neglected Venezuelan children amid the chaos and instability.

Hogar Bambi Venezuela

Founded in 1992, Hogar Bambi “provides shelter, protection and comprehensive care” to neglected Venezuelan children up to 18 years old “who have been orphaned, abandoned or otherwise deprived of family nurturing,” according to its donation page on GlobalGiving. By ensuring “shelter, food, education, health care and emotional support,” the organization hopes to meet children’s physical, emotional, social and educational needs to ensure proper development and establish the foundation for a brighter future in adulthood. This support can be for the entirety of one’s childhood or can conclude through reunification with biological families and/or foster family placement.

A Trade Program for Teenagers

One of the many programs that Hogar Bambi offers in its assistance for neglected Venezuelan children is a trade school for its teenage members. Recognizing that many of the organization’s teenagers, upon reaching the age of 18, were leaving the organization’s care without the necessary skills to live an independent life and earn an income to support themselves, Hogar Bambi felt it necessary to sculpt these individuals into meaningful contributors within their industries of interest.

As such, from the age of 15, the organization assesses children’s interests and skills and places them into a course to develop these skills so that the children can enter an income-generating trade once leaving Hogar Bambi. A 17-year-old Hogar Bambi teenager completed a “manicurist and pattern designer course” in August 2022, and by February 2023, will attain a high school diploma. Additionally, a young man who displayed an interest in patisserie took a pastry course and has been working at a pastry shop for more than 12 months now.

This career-oriented service relies on collaborations with companies. Real Estate Securities Fund, for instance, offered office tours and trade-specific training to teenagers within Hogar Bambi’s trade program and Izcaragua Country Club “teaches trades related to maintenance and club management.”

Change in Perspective

Coming into Hogar Bambi’s care, past experiences and trauma weigh many of the children down, and consequently, some children view their futures in a pessimistic light. Through Hogar Bambi’s assistance for neglected Venzulean children, however, children develop can-do attitudes and are guided to move toward thoughts of empowerment. Enderson Matos, the operative director of Hogar Bambi Venezuela, said in an interview with Sarah Begum that Hogar Bambi’s environment makes it so that the kids in their care “[think] beyond a simple problem such as ‘I was abandoned by mom’ toward ‘I can create many new things.’”

Support in Numbers

Last year, a Hogar Bambi fundraiser in Florida raised upward of 80 boxes worth of aid, which consisted of various necessities like food, clothes, school supplies, diapers and toys. Other initiatives, like the Baby Formulas Campaign, established in 2017, have equally impressive results. The campaign, which monthly sponsors financed, had delivered more than 1,100 kilos of formula and milk to Venezuela by 2020.

Foster Family Placement

Through a foster family placement program, Hogar Bambi seeks to assist neglected Venezuelan children in the form of familial care. Children with no possibility of reuniting with their families are eligible for the program. A “group of professionals” manage all the necessary protocols and assessments required by law. Prospective foster families should be able to offer the “love, care and dedication that every human being deserves,” the organization says on its website. Hogar Bambi is currently fundraising to secure finances to launch the program and has so far met 25% of its US $25,000 goal.

Hogar Bambi aims to fulfill the comprehensive needs of children so that they may have a promising future. The organization’s assistance for neglected Venezuelan children ensures children can one day become well-rounded, self-sufficient and productive adults.

– Jacob Lawhern 
Photo: Flickr