Learning to live differently
Janet*, 38, was forced to leave Venezuela a couple of years ago with her three children due to the difficult economic situation in the country. She is currently living in the Independencia district of Lima. Although, in Venezuela, she worked as a teacher in a public school, in Peru it has not been easy to get a job. One of her difficulties has been not having close family or trusted people to care for her young children. Of course, the pandemic has aggravated the situation with virtual classes and the need to stay at home to avoid contagion.
Beginning little by little
In search of a way out, Janet began selling a Venezuelan dessert known as marquesa, which is simple to prepare and does not require an oven. So, her day-to-day is divided between household chores, classes via Zoom for her twelve-year-old daughter Nina* and her four-year-old son, as well as the preparation of her desserts, her posts on social networks to generate sales, and the delivery of orders.
Nina* explains why distance education is not to her liking and how much is missing from school.
I don’t like (distance education). I miss school a lot. It is different. (…). What I miss the most about school is spending time with my classmates and doing homework in a group.
Janet * says that the production of her desserts is limited to the number of orders she receives because she cannot travel far away for deliveries, leaving both children alone.
It is a new enterprise because in my country I didn’t do any of that. I only dedicated myself to teaching and here I have learned everything (…) With the pandemic I lost my jobs, I had to dedicate myself to doing something. I saw that my desserts came out very well, so my daughter gave me the idea: Mom, make some desserts. At first they were only to people I knew, but afterwards it has advanced a little…
Lights on the path
Thanks to the Facebook group “Venezuelans in Peru”, Janet* learned about Save the Children’s initiatives to assist families who had emigrated to Peru and found themselves in a difficult situation. In this way, after answering a series of questions regarding her immediate needs, she was able to access the different benefits offered by the project “Assistance for the well-being and inclusion of migrant and refugee families in Peru.”
On two occasions, she received a cash transfer that helped her cover basic expenses such as the rent of her home and medical appointments to control the hyperthyroidism that she suffers from and had not treated since her arrival in Peru. Save the Children also helped her restart her business and generate income.
Meanwhile, Janet* has been advised on nutritional issues, which has allowed her to achieve a balanced diet for the growth of her young children, and also on issues related to her business.
Without a doubt, one of the most important supports has been in the psychological aspect. Janet tells us that her youngest son has some behavioral problems that cause her a lot of concern and that she sometimes doesn’t know how to deal with. The advice given in Save the Children’s psychological counseling has enabled her to manage her emotions better and develop some guidelines in raising her children.
(They have helped me to) control my emotions with my young son (…) they have given me advice to be able to deal with it. For example, they have told me to write down the negative things that happen to me during the day on a piece of paper and then throw it away, or discuss what is affecting me with my children so that they don’t do it again. That advice has made a big impact on me …
Nina* has also seen the change in her mother brought about by the help of Save the Children:
When (my mother) was told that she was going to be part of the program, she looked very happy. And that made me feel very happy.
A school for the future
One of the things that Janet* values most is that, thanks to help from Save the Children in different facets, she has not felt alone.
I have felt very grateful to the Save the Children organization because (…) it has contributed to me in all aspects of my life. In other words, I have not felt alone here because in fact when you emigrate, you leave a country, then you feel alone…
Janet* is aware of the difficult time that she has had to go through, but she also sees the positive side. Her difficulties have allowed her to do new things and continue learning. That is why in the future she sees the possibility of teaching again or even developing her own business.
… This was my school, here I learned many things, I am very grateful for that, because thanks to those tools that I now, currently have, I believe that this will help me in the future to continue progressing. My dreams in the future may help me to get a job in my profession, in what I studied, to teach or else start a business, where I can give my children a better quality of life.
*The names have been changed according to our Safeguarding Policy.
About the project
The project “Assistance for the well-being and inclusion of migrant and refugee families in Peru” has been implemented by Save the Children with support from the USAID’s Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance (BHA /USAID). This intervention aims to provide humanitarian assistance to Venezuelan families who were forced to leave their country due to the serious economic crisis. The cornerstones of the project are: protection through psychosocial support; nutrition and health; livelihoods through the strengthening of skills to start a business or access a job; as well as humanitarian aid to cover the family’s minimum expenses for food, shelter, and clothing.