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Luisa: Keeping faith and hope alive

Luisa Peroso, a 28-year-old Venezuelan migrant now living in Colombia, knew that leaving her homeland would be a challenge. However, she never anticipated the daily hardships she now faces. "It isn’t easy to leave your country and go elsewhere. It’s especially hard to leave three children behind in Venezuela while bringing three young children to Colombia," she reflects.

The perilous journey from Venezuela saw Luisa, her husband, and their three sons—Emanuel (5), Esteban (3), and Abraham (2)—travel to Riohacha. Arriving with no support due to their refugee status, they were left uncertain about how to survive in their new environment.

Upon their arrival, Luisa realized her youngest son had health issues. Thankfully, she was introduced to nutrition programs supported by Malteser International over the past two years. "We are a low-income family. We don’t have much to give our children. When the doctor of Malteser International met us, we had nothing. Little by little, we have been able to grow and provide for our children the best we can," Luisa says.

The beginning of healing

Abraham, her youngest son, was malnourished when they arrived in Colombia. "Abraham weighed only 4 kilograms at seven months old. Today, he weighs 11 kilograms. I have God helping me, as well as Malteser International," Luisa shares.

Her other child, Esteban, also participated in the program last year due to low weight. Fighting back tears, Luisa expresses her gratitude, "I am so thankful for the good programs at Malteser International and the help from the nutritionist."

Johana Barros, the Head Nutritionist, leads the nutritional control program. She has been instrumental in helping Luisa get her boys on track, including providing necessary medications to ensure their health. Through Luisa’s continued participation in Malteser International’s programs, she has been able to nourish her children and provide for their healthcare.

For four months, Luisa receives nutrition kits from Malteser International to support her children's supplemental needs. "The nutritionist gives me hope. She tells me, 'Luisa, keep going, keep the faith and hope alive,' and that is exactly what I am doing," Luisa says.

This text is based on an article by Malteser International Americas from August, 2023.

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