Carlos is too young to understand why he can’t sleep in his own bed at home tonight. Instead, he’s lying on a thin mattress on the floor of a crowded and noisy migrant centre at the Colombian border. His mother, Yamileth, 18, watches over him and his brother Yadnoel.
She is exhausted after carrying her two young sons for the past three days. Yadnoel is still a baby and Carlos can’t walk at all. He suffers from a severe form of spina bifida that has left his legs curved.
The equipment needed to manage Carlos’ condition isn’t available in Venezuela so his mother is taking him to Peru.
Yamileth washes her baby son Carlos with a napkin, she is travelling with her two children from Venezuela to Peru.
A Dangerous Journey
It’s a journey of almost 2,000km, which they are making on foot because they can’t afford transport. The family still have at least another eight days of walking ahead of them and the journey is fraught with peril. Armed groups, people smugglers and those looking for opportunities to earn money by selling children and young people into prostitution are all very real dangers.
On top of that, every day is a struggle against the elements. Walking through driving rain by day is clearly putting a toll on the little family.
“Yesterday, it rained so hard,” Yamileth tells us, “The children got soaked through. They woke up with a cough.”
The children cry because they are hungry. But there is no money to buy food or facilities at the centre to cook. With a hot meal inside of them the children would be stronger for the ordeal ahead.
Venezuela Living Conditions Deteriorate
With every passing day out on the road, the dangers to Carlos and his little brother increase, but their mother feels she has no choice. Back home in Venezuela, living conditions have deteriorated rapidly. There the children go to bed hungry too because there isn’t enough food to eat.
Yajaira walks the highway while carrying her 11-month-old daughter, Josbelyn. They hope to find a job and a better future in Ecuador.
The situation is so bad that millions of Venezuelans, a great many of them children like Carlos and Yadnoel, are on the move, fleeing into neighbouring countries, especially Colombia, Ecuador and Brazil.
Carlos and his baby brother need help if they are going to survive their journey. They need clean water so Yamileth can give them a drink and wash them to keep them safe from disease. And they need food. They are exhausted and hungry and if they don’t eat properly they could become very ill.
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A donation of €100 could ensure 16 children have a bed and a safe place to sleep at night.