From Refugees to Empowered Entrepreneurs

Refugees and IDPs | Print

Venezuela has been in the middle of a devastating economic crash for over five years now. Job scarcity combined with unrest has made the country particularly difficult to live in for families who barely made it over the border unscathed, and many are fleeing to neighboring nations in search of a better life for them and their children.

Such dire conditions have driven many to desperation.

As they struggle to find sustainable ways to feed and clothe their families, some are coerced into working for drug cartels, forced into human trafficking, and even hired as hitmen. Their “employers” know that vulnerable communities are often the most exploitable. In addition to avoiding being recruited by predators, refugees are also facing the daily threats of starvation, hate crimes, hypothermia, exposure, and homelessness

BGR partners are addressing the difficulty for refugees to find employment by training families in shoe and leather goods production, as well as baking. Experts in these three fields teach hands-on classes and speak life into the lives of migrants who have all but lost hope. Each family is given a life goals exercise at the beginning of the workshop to help them think about the future and all that they can achieve. 

One student, Anthony, was incredibly grateful for this renewed sense of purpose: “Being a migrant, [this training] has given me a real opportunity to work in a trade, even more so in an art I love and never thought I’d learn. [It has also] given me tools that have motivated me to start my own business and encourage other people to get involved in learning this beautiful craft. Thank you once again for the opportunity and trust you have given me. God greatly reward you for this initiative!” 

Participants who have graduated from the training are now either gainfully employed or have started businesses of their own as bakers, leather workers, and cobblers. Many have a renewed sense of purpose as a result of the empowerment they’ve experienced, saying, “[We] now have a reason to hope and stay in this city.” 

A previously broken-hearted community is now experiencing the love of Christ thanks to your investment in their lives. God is blessing these new small business owners in their endeavors, and we continue to pray for the transformation of their hearts and minds.

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