SEATTLE, Washington — Jesse Tyler Ferguson is an actor known for playing Mitchell Pritchett in Modern Family and voicing Shangri Llama in Ice Age: Collision Course. In addition to playing these and other roles, Jesse Tyler Ferguson helps Venezuelan migrants in Columbia adjust to their new circumstances.
The Venezuelan Refugee Crisis
The Venezuelan refugee crisis started when President Nicolás Maduro won the Venezuelan special election held in April 2013 after the previous president, Hugo Chávez, had died the in office. Under President Maduro’s leadership, Venezuela has experienced shortages in food, medicine and gasoline. The country also experiences frequent blackouts, and at least six children have died in hospitals due to a lack of functional medical equipment. These difficulties have led to a total of 3.7 million Venezuelans fleeing their home country to seek better lives elsewhere. Of these refugees, 231,000 crossed into Columbia in 2017 alone.
Columbia is not in the ideal condition to handle such large numbers of people migrating to their country. The country has only recently ended a 50-year civil war. The U.S. government has proposed cutting foreign aid to them. Its economy only grew by 1.8 percent in 2017. This was significantly slower growth than in previous years 10 years. As a result, Columbia is not able to take care of all of the Venezuelan refugees. It cannot afford to adequately feed or house all of them.
Jesse Tyler Ferguson Helps Venezuelan Migrants
Jesse Tyler Ferguson helps Venezuelan Migrants in Columbia cope with their new lives. He does this by supporting the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR). The UNHCR works in 134 countries around the world to help more than 90 thousand refugees cope with their new lives. Many are unable to return to their countries of origin and must find new homes. In 2017, the UNHCR resettled 102,800 refugees.
Jesse Tyler Ferguson’s main goal with the UNHCR is to rehabilitate Venezuelan refugees in Colombia. He does this by visiting a number of UNHCR-funded institutions in Columbia, including shelters, daycare centers and community kitchens. Most notably, Jesse Tyler Ferguson enjoyed visiting the daycare centers that specifically cater to the children of refugee families. With his help, these daycare centers guarantee that the children under their care get at least two meals a day. The children also learn good hygiene and are educated in math, science and art. Additionally, these centers provide a number of therapeutic options for refugee children, including activity books and puppet role play.
The Future for Refugees
Venezuela is far from an ideal place to live. People there suffer from food shortages and power outages, and many of them must leave. Some of them end up in Columbia, which is also not in the best condition. Fortunately, Jesse Tyler Ferguson helps Venezuelan migrants in Columbia get back on their feet along with many of the UNHCR’s personnel. The children, in particular, are given the food that they need to grow, the skills that they need to adapt and the help that they need to cope with their new lives.
– Cassie Parvaz