On the Ground International is a grassroots humanitarian aid organization based in Pamplona, Colombia. We are working together with international volunteers and local partners to support the Venezuelan refugees walking across the country, as well as the vulnerable population in Pamplona. Our projects include supporting and operating shelters along the route, providing first aid and medical care when we are able, and providing food, water and information. We also work with small foundations, schools and other locals to help the community in different ways. Learn more about our projects.
Founder / Director
Bethani grew up in the Pacific Northwest, and was a music teacher
before turning to full-time refugee work. She founded OTGI in 2019, and is very
grateful for the opportunity to provide aid and support to the people of Venezuela in their
difficult journeys across Colombia.
Loanna is 23 and studied psychology. Passionate about community work, she became involved in initiatives with the migrant population, with the aim to generate social transformation through the welfare of every human being in situation of vulnerability.
Valentina is a law student from Italy. She is into humanitarian law and speaks 4 languages. She came to OTGI because she deeply cares about the cause of migrants and human rights and she wants to work with international organizations on the field.
Community Programs Coordinator
Georgie is from Oakland, California and studied human rights history at Durham University. In Pamplona she enjoys the unpredictability of every day and the opportunity to meet and learn from people with many different backgrounds and perspectives.
Hannah is from Washington state where she studies business marketing at Walla Walla University. She chose to volunteer at OTGI because she is interested in humanitarian aid work and wants to be involved in supporting the Venezuelan refugees.
Hannah is a communications intern and also helps with organizing our kids play program.
Sophia is a theology major at Union College in Lincoln Nebraska and still has one more year before graduation.
Sophia is the intern in charge of organising first aid clinic. Her favorite part of Pamplona is the culture and the ability to learn something new everyday. She is eternally grateful for every amazing day she gets to spend here.
Kaitlyn is from Oregon, and she is currently at Walla Walla university studying mechanical engineering, with an emphasis in global humanitarian engineering. She wanted to come volunteer at OTGI to get experience working for an ngo while making an impact for caminantes. She is the financial intern.
Note from the founder – Bethani King
My involvement in refugee work began in 2016 in Lebanon, where I volunteered in the refugee camps twelve kilometers from the Syrian border. In 2018 I worked on a boat landing crew, and with a children’s program for Afghan refugees on the Greek island of Lesvos. Both of these experiences endeared the refugee story to my heart.
In 2018 I began reading news stories every day about the collapse of the Venezuelan economy and rising humanitarian crisis. I spent hours online, searching for organizations providing aid to the Venezuelans flooding out of their country, but I couldn’t find anything. There were a handful of large NGOs that claimed to be supporting Venezuelan refugees in Colombia, but I couldn’t find any specific information on their projects, and my queries were unanswered.
I finally decided to go to Colombia myself to assess what is really happening – and how we can help. I was sure that there were already people here doing good work, I just needed to be on the ground to find them.
Just as I thought, there are good people here! And they are doing good work. Most of the aid available to Venezuelan refugees comes from small foundations, churches, and even individuals who have turned their lives around to assist the most desperate Venezuelans.
My goal with this website is to provide what I couldn’t find from home – a connection between those who are far away but want to help, and those who are on the ground. The organizations we sponsor here are all organizations I have spent time with myself, and I can vouch for the effectiveness of their work.
Thank you for being here, and for supporting our work on the ground!