With her country caught in violence and economic collapse, Andrea, 29, is one of the more than one million Venezuelans who have left to start a new life for their family in Colombia.
Andrea, her husband and their two daughters share a small, rented house outside the city of Cúcuta with five other people. "When we arrived in Colombia we had to start again from zero," Andrea says.
Before they left Venezuela, the family sold their refrigerator, washing machine, and all their other possessions—but the cash they received was nearly worthless in Colombia. The found it difficult to buy even enough to eat. "There were days when we went to bed with nothing in our stomachs," Andrea says.
Andrea and her husband tried to eke out a living in Colombia by selling groceries door-to-door or on the street. One day, aid workers from the International Rescue Committee visited Andrea to let her know about emergency cash and other support the IRC was providing to people like her who were affected by the crisis in Venezuela.
Andrea's younger daughter was just a few months old when the lack of food and health care forced the family to leave Venezuela. In Cúcuta, Andrea took part in IRC classes designed to help parents and their children who are living through the crisis to cope with trauma and build resilience.
Andrea's older daughter, 9, works on a puzzle at the IRC's care center in Cúcuta while her mother meets with IRC staff. In a few months she will start school, where her mother hopes she'll make friends.
The cash they received from the IRC has helped Andrea's family to make a new start in Colombia: They've not only used it to buy food and a refrigerator, but also tools that have enabled Andrea's husband to rebuild his career as a cellphone repair technician.
Although Andrea is relieved that her husband is finding new clients and getting work, she says, "our future here is still uncertain." She also says it's hard not being able to see her mother, the only relative she has left in Venezuela. "Obviously, I miss my country—but it will be a long time until Venezuela recovers." Read Andrea's full story. (Photos: Andres Brenner/IRC)