Opportunities on the move are opportunities to learn

Boys and girls on the move, including adolescents, are accessing non-formal learning activities in neighboring countries that reconnect them with educational processes.

Por Enrique Patiño
© UNICEF Ecuador/2019/M. Vallejo
UNICEF Ecuador/2019/M. Vallejo
16 August 2019
© UNICEF Brasil/2019/I. Brandão
UNICEF Brasil/2019/I. Brandão
Ronneilys (15) had to live in a shelter for two months before attending a UNICEF Learning Space, where she had the chance to get closer to Brasilian culture and education system. Now, she attends formal school.


Ronneilys Corredor is a 15-year old girl, born in northern Venezuela, who crossed the Brazilian border and arrived in Boa Vista, Roraima. She had to live with her family in a shelter for two months. Those hard times were partially recompensed when she had the chance to reconnect with education in a UNICEF Learning Space. In one of the 10 Learning Points located in border cities she learned about her new country and accessed non-formal learning activities.

In Brazil, UNICEF signed past May 2019 partnership agreements with World Vision and Instituto Pirilampos to implement the newly designed integrated humanitarian programme approach on child protection and education. These partnerships will be able to reach 4,820 children in and out of shelters in Roraima and Manaus through 21 integrated centres. 3,445 children, including adolescents as Ronneilys, have benefited from these learning activities already in Brazil.

Colombia is also putting efforts on formal and non-formal learning activities. UNICEF started to operate a formal and flexible education model called “learning circles”, that seeks to integrate children into schools, especially in areas where migration has the largest impact on the education system. The programme has 300 slots reserved for Bogotá, 200 for Barranquilla, 200 for Arauca, 300 for Norte de Santander and 200 for La Guajira, for a total of 1,200 boys and girls.

UNICEF and partners identified community spaces in May 2019, as well as discussing the project with community leaders and agreeing on procedures for evaluation and certification. Colombia provided non-formal learning activities for 1,258 children and adolescents in May 2019.

In Ecuador, 2,148 new children and adolescents on the move accessed these non-formal learning activities during the same period. Furthermore, UNICEF has been working in this country with schools and communities on the integration of migrant children and prevention of xenophobia. Besides, the international organization is leading strong advocacy efforts at national level to ensure access to education for Venezuelan and Ecuadorian children.

© UNICEF Colombia/2019/Arcos
UNICEF Colombia/2019/Arcos
In Cucuta, Colombia, children attend class at the Misael Pastrana School where about 70% of the students are Venezuelan's who cross the border every morning.

Support of public donors such as Canada and the US Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration (BPRM)[IS1] , partners like the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) and Education Cannot Wait; as well as contribution from private partners - channeled by the Danish Committee for UNICEF, UNICEF Ireland and the United States Fund for UNICEF - have allowed UNICEF to improve access to education for thousands of migrant children as well as for those receiving them in their communities.

Moreover, national and local authorities in the most vulnerable places are better equipped to face the increase demand for services as a consequence of the migration crisis across countries in Latin America and the Caribbean.  


All figures extracted from: <www.unicef.org/appeals/files/Latin_America_Migration_Flows_May_2019.pdf>.