It is already August and this first half of the year has been full of twists and turns at OTGI.
After a quiet but heartwarming winter in the bright mountain sun, celebrating traditions in our shelters like the day of the candles and of course Christmas with our staff and the caminantes, we dived headfirst into the January rush. Starting new projects, giving out hundreds of sandwiches per day on the roads up to La Laguna and down to Cucuta, receiving a lot of volunteers, our first family of volunteers, working on new projects, or with new partners, moving a shelter… And this is only the visible part of the iceberg.
Our summer fundraiser is a chance to come back on a few highlights of 2023 so far.
A shelter closing, another one opening… Our most recent shelter Esperanza Hoy has opened its doors in Bochalema in July. Small but well located on the route of the migrants walking from the border of Venezuela to Pamplona, it has been welcoming caminantes every day since its opening, for a warm meal and rest. We are currently working on expanding it and improving its services, thanks to the funds raised in the last 35km walk organized by our volunteers.
Casa de Arturo, an aid point in Pamplona that have been running for a few months. Its goal is to support Venezuelans in a different way, in the transition between walking and settling, to start over in Colombia.
A 200 km fundraising walk, on the route of the caminantes: from the Venezuelan border up to the Berlin pass and finally to Bucaramanga. Our volunteers walking gathered all their strengths to keep going during these five days, yet they have experienced a very tiny part of the body pain and exhaustion that the caminantes go through on their journey. With better preparation, shoes, and moral — knowing they are not leaving their country and everything behind them with a great question mark as only horizon.
A new partnership with Biblioteca Popular and its founder Tatiana. This project has been allowing us to support the childhood of Pamplona more, in a vulnerable neighborhood where we had never worked before. We have been able to bring the energy and creativity of OTGI volunteers in activities like workshops, guitar lessons or teaching English. It is also a great way to create bonds with the community by supporting a local foundation focusing on education and awareness.
All these evolutions and improvements couldn’t possible without our staff, volunteers, the coordination team and our precious donors.
Through all the changes and challenges, it all comes down to one goal in the end: helping the Venezuelans and that is what we manage to do by making small differences day after day.
To help us keep doing that, feel free to share and donate for our summer fundraiser. Check out the donation options on our website – credit card, paypal, Venmo or a physical check. Thank you so much again for the support!