Our history in Venezuela
Present in Venezuela since 1951, staffing a hospital in Maracaibo, today MMS supports the most deprived people in the barrios (shanty towns) where COVID-19 is worsening Venezuela’s economic and social crisis that plunged the majority into acute poverty and desperate hunger. The pandemic is causing a new human crisis, psychologically and emotionally, for children and young people experiencing abandonment, malnutrition, places of recreation and learning shut.
Focus of our mission in Venezuela
Providing a solidarity kitchen
Accompanying young people
Developing music and arts programmes for children and young people
In Caracas, three Medical Mission Sisters are involved in a number of food and healthcare projects run by Caritas Venezuela and the parish. One of our Sisters also accompanies young people in an inter-congregational formation programme.
Due to a slow vaccination programme, we remain actively involved in preventing the spread of COVID-19 among those communities with whom we engage.
In Maracaibo, Sister Marielena runs a project along with the community council. called Community Communication Center (CDCC) where they provide a service to the community in the area of communications.
She also accompanies local Christian communities and the group of catechists, since we, as Medical Mission Sisters, are responsible for the religious services and activities in our neighbourhood.
Bethany Solidarity Kitchen in Barquisimeto
In Venezuela 2021, as the double-edged blow of poverty and the pandemic hits women, children and persons with underlying health conditions the hardest, MMS’s well established Solidarity Kitchen in Barquisimeto, which has been running since 2015, addresses acute shortages of food and water to boost immunity.
350 people a day come to the Solidarity Kitchen for a nutritious snack designed to add to local diets, for example, dairy products, not affordable for many families. This life-saving programme enhances healthy growth and immunity and builds resilience.
The kitchen keeps Sister Maiguilida, Luz Marina, Yira and other volunteers very busy indeed.
Creating La Fundación Latidos in Barquisimeto
By creating La Fundación Latidos (The Beats) in 2015, Sister Maigualida and her colleagues aimed to keep children and young people away from violence and drugs on the streets in Barquisimeto, as you can read here:
Income-generation for local women making Latidos costumes
Local women in the barrios make the traditional costumes for the children's performances to secure a small income.
Latidos has its own Facebook page at latidosfv
Healing a continent torn apart by grief
Prior to the pandemic, Latidos flourished into a lively music group, involving 550 children from 10 barrios, mostly aged 5-17 years. Cooperating with universities and arts groups, Latidos fast became the heartbeat of Barquisimeto, keeping hope alive for everyone. COVID-19 restricted its activities in 2020 but now, use of masks and hand sanitisers enables 150 children to play music again, face-to-face, alongside a team of trained teachers.
In country where music is the cornerstone of life, Latidos is now restoring merengue, salsa and other rhythms to life. Listen to those lively beats!
Listen to those beats
“When we sing, dance, draw, make poetry, stories, dramas, I feel that many beautiful things happen in my heart and around”, says Karla, aged 10.
The children in Latidos dream of recording a CD to carry the message of their music to many more people - rebuilding communities and shattered lives. After five women committed suicide in a month in 2020, MMS launched two radio programmes to reach across all social backgrounds in South America. Through Latidos, joyful songs and poems can touch lives in desperate times.