About

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. Our projects include supporting and operating shelters along the route, providing first aid and medical care when we are able, and providing food. Learn more about our projects.


Our Team

Bethani
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.
Zoulaykah
Volunteer & Finance Coordinator
Zoulaykah Al Lilo is 22, from Syria, but now lives in Canada. She finished a bachelor degree in Criminal Justice and Human Rights in 2022. As a child she experienced being a refugee herself due to civil war, that is why Zoulaykah is extremely passionate about working with and supporting refugees worldwide.
Lucy
Logistics & Social Media Manager
Lucy is 25 and from the UK. She finished her Master’s degree in Humanitarianism, Aid and Conflict at SOAS University in 2021. Lucy has come to Pamplona to work with caminantes from Venezuela to support the local people in responding to the refugee crisis here.
Stella
Progamme Manager
Stella is 24 years old and is originally from Hamburg, Germany and studied international relations and political science. She wanted to learn from the people of Pamplona and Venezuela and their culture and work together with them.

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!

-Bethani King