Enrollment in kindergarten through 12th grade in Venezuela fell by 2 million children between 2016 and 2018. Some children dropped out of school because of electricity blackouts or food shortages. Many left Venezuela. More than 4 million Venezuelans, including 1 million children, have left for neighboring countries as a result of the Nicolás Maduro regime’s disastrous policies.
That is why the U.S. has provided more than $376 million in funding for the Venezuelan regional crisis response including nearly $334 million in humanitarian aid and $43 million in economic and development assistance since the start of fiscal year 2017.
Venezuelan children who have left their country face many hardships. Some face obstacles to attending schools in their host countries. The U.S. supports their access to safe education.
Education Cannot Wait, an international nongovernmental organization that received $21 million from the U.S., announced in June an initiative to reach 84,500 out-of-school children and adolescents in Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru. The program will benefit both Venezuelan and host-country children.
Disrupting children’s education brings steep and long-term costs. Research shows that severe and prolonged suffering harms brain development and predicts higher drop-out rates and lower literacy rates. The U.S. humanitarian response through its partners limits the chance that the Venezuelan crisis will create a lost generation of youth unprepared to contribute to society.
In addition to providing funding to help children learn, the U.S. has deployed U.S. Navy Hospital Ship USNS Comfort on a five-month mission to Central American, South American, and Caribbean countries to support health care systems accommodating displaced Venezuelans.