by Barbara Katherinne, South American Division, courtesy Adventist Review

The Adventist lay-led Center for Support and Reference to Refugees and Migrants (CARE), based in Manaus, Brazil, recently honored women who were forced to leave Venezuela and now live as refugees in the capital city of the Amazonas region. The May 9, 2019 event was a way of thanking and showing affection to mothers, organizers said.

“Every day, hundreds of Venezuelan mothers face a routine of desolation and sadness,” CARE leaders explained. “Many had to leave their children behind and look for resources in neighboring countries.”

Karina is one of them. A mother of three, she lives as a refugee in Manaus.

“I have been in Brazil for three months now, and I do not know when I will be able to return to Venezuela. It seems it will take a long time because the crisis never ends,” she said.

Trying to ease the ongoing plight of Venezuelan women, CARE set out to offer them a different kind of day. On that day, women volunteers greeted 55 refugee mothers with messages of comfort and a special breakfast. After eating, they were invited to take part in activities meant to boost the mothers’ self-esteem, including hair washing, trimming, and brushing. Refugee mothers could also opt for relaxing massages, skin cleansing, or hands and feet treatment sessions.

Project coordinator Rosimélia Figueiredo said every activity was intended to foster the participants’ wellbeing.

“We thought about offering them a day like no other, with moments of good food and personal care,” Figueiredo said. “We wanted them to feel there is hope.”

Figueiredo added that there was a spiritual component too.

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