Venezuelan migrant children struggle to access education

Families say their children are being turned away from schools in Peru and Colombia, often because of discrimination.

When Eliana Caman boarded a bus from Venezuela to Peru with her two children two years ago, she knew the journey ahead would be arduous. She did not count on the less obvious obstacles she would face en route to a better life.

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“My children lost a year of their education because the school [in Peru] wouldn’t accept them,” she told Al Jazeera.

The administrators required proof of their education in Venezuela, which she did not have. A private school was prepared to help her out by issuing an identification code, but it would cost 600 Peruvian soles ($157) per child – an impossible sum for their family. Undeterred, she drew up a list of all the public schools in Lima, calling them one by one.

“We don’t accept Venezuelans. That’s what they would say to me. So I got tired,” Caman said. “The children stayed at home, bored, not doing anything, in the middle of the pandemic. Like I said, we were migrants; we didn’t have anything.”

Amid an enormous wave of migration across Latin America, aid agencies are sounding the alarm about the barriers that persist for migrant children to access something that should be universally guaranteed: an education.

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