A Safe Haven for Venezuelan Walkers in Colombia

In the Colombian city of Bucaramanga, the Fundación Entre Dos Tierras managed to organize a humanitarian assistance device for migrants. Adriana Parra, deputy director of the foundation, tells us how it works.

Photo: The New York Times retrieved

Entre Dos Tierras is a foundation based in Bucaramanga, Colombia, who offers help to Venezuelan walkers trekking across the Berlín moors to Medellín or Bogotá (many don’t even have a clear destination). It was created in 2012, when its founder and current director, Alba Pereira, decided to cover the most basic needs of Venezuelans arriving in Colombia: training, orientation, legal and migratory help, physical and psychological assistance, medical and food supply, and specialized help.

In 2017, it formally became a foundation and non-profit organization, when the migration flow increased, opening new fronts in the efforts towards humanitarian aid, focusing on health, education, food, assistance on the road, and human rights and civil rights aid. Their motto is simple and strong: “We’re all responsible for everyone.

Their motto is simple and strong: “We’re all responsible for everyone.

Adriana Parra, deputy director of Entre Dos Tierras, was recently in Canada to show the work they do when it comes to material, spiritual, and human support for those who transit what they call “the humanitarian routes”. Her conferences in Calgary, Toronto, Montreal and Ottawa started by reminding us that their mission is rooted on a basic principle: these people need, in the first place, a humanitarian look and embrace. “At 3,200 meters above sea level, there’s no room to try and understand the origin of this humanitarian crisis. You only think about how to help a walker who still has 195 kilometers to go, on a journey that will last at least five more days, to Bucaramanga, where they’ll decide if they move on to another Colombian city or to another far away country like Peru, Ecuador or Chile.”

Adriana says that this phenomenon began with the expulsion of binational and Colombian families on Táchira’s side of the border, in 2015. “This is where the urgent humanitarian aid and human rights activities began. It then slowed down a bit in the following months but, by the end of 2016, the forceful displacement blew up with features of mass migration: no plans, no resources, and total vulnerability. That’s how the walkers were born, Venezuelans travelling on foot, walking long stretches with destinations as far as they were uncertain.”

The humanitarian routes began as a spontaneous initiative, stemming from solidarity. It’s her very own story: she went from being a Venezuelan migrant handing out some food on the road, to organizing a bigger effort. “The lesson this moment is giving us is something we must pass to our children; take a look at yourself and wonder, ‘what can I do to generate positive and sustainable changes? How can I protect the future? Mine, theirs, and those yet to come?’ It’s our duty to transform pain into love, leaving behind seeds of joy and a positive attitude.”

The humanitarian routes began as a spontaneous initiative, stemming from solidarity.

The foundation has a small team of five people. They get requests from all over the world, volunteers looking to tag along the routes; what Entre Dos Tierras wants is more Venezuelans to join in, whether they live in Colombia or other countries. They hand between six and eight hundred daily rations for breakfast and lunch, as well as 150 bottles with formula, and over 300,000 hugs a year.

For more information about the foundation, you can email them: [email protected] or [email protected]

You can also follow them on Twitter: @fun2tierras