Campaign

Help my dear friends escape life threatening chaos in Venezuela, and relocate to Australia..

Joel and Anderson are two intelligent, genuine, warm, open and generous guys in their 20s, who currently exist in a very surreal situation in their home country of Venezuela. I’ve spent two months travelling and living in Venezuela this year, and have personally experienced the fear, anxiety, stress and depravity that people here have come to accept as ‘normal’, yet it is far from ‘normal’.

Existing in Venezuela, people wake up each day knowing that it really may be their last. Joel and Anderson have been held up and robbed by thieves armed with knives and guns, on a number of different occasions each. It is considered ‘normal’ to be robbed in Venezuela, and if you’re not killed, you’re simply considered lucky. After two guys with large knives attempted to rob me, I realised no one is particularly interested in hearing other people’s stories, because they are already swamped by too many of their own traumatic experiences.

The increasingly harsh reality of what most regular Venezuelans (ie. non Government related individuals) survive, is so far outside my first world comfort bubble that it shook me to my core. I’ve set up this account to raise the money urgently needed to hep Joel and Anderson escape the chaos in Venezuela. They need to get passports, and apply for visas and buy flights, in order to set themselves up for a new life in Australia.

With a monthly income the equivalent of $15 USD, paid in the ever decreasing value of local Bolivars, Joel and Anderson have no hope of saving money – their income is wholly consumed each month paying their rent and buying what little food is available to them – they, like many others in Venezuela, are barely able to survive.

Joel and Anderson’s existence is similar to many others in the country, however a few points set them apart:
* They are my good friends and I cannot leave them without hope;
* They have made the difficult decision to leave their homeland in search of a safer, better life in Australia; and
* Given the opportunity of life outside Venezuela, they have the ability to contribute back to society in many ways. Joel was an ambassador for the United Nations at a number of International Conferences, and is a University Graduate in Modern Languages. Anderson is mid way through his Biology degree but currently not able to continue his studies, because the State run University is closed due to economic and political issues.

With a Government controlled currency that decreases in value daily, no access to Government controlled US Dollars (necessary to purchase flights), and without access to Western Union Money Transfers or even basic PayPal accounts, Joel and Anderson are severely restricted in their options to escape the depressing situation. I am able to give money while I am in the country, however the funds I brought in with me are running low, and I am unable to withdraw more money that will have any value.

So little information about the situation in Venezuela is available to the outside world. I have written about the absurd food, product and service restrictions, the horrendous rates of crime, and some stories of survival of armed robberies if you’re interested in learning more.

Together with your help we can make an impact, create change, and give these two wonderful guys the chance of a decent life. A life without fear of being robbed or killed each day, a life of choice for what food and products they consume, and an opportunity to give back to the community. I am deeply concerned that if they do not leave Venezuela by the end of 2015, they will never have another chance, and I already fear for their health, safety and well being. Joel and Anderson are my friends, and I can’t help them alone. I need your help to help them.

Every donation will be used to help Joel and Anderson survive the immediate days and weeks in Venezuela, with the main aim of escaping the country, and setting up their new life in Australia. Any extra money received will be used to help other Venezuelans who also want the chance of a new life.

Thank you in advance for your kind and generous donations. Every dollar counts and is worth much more than you might imagine:

$2 USD = one meal in a restaurant
$5 USD = one month’s rent for Joel and Anderson
$8 USD = one month of food products (if available)
$10 USD = the minimum wage in Venezuela (1 month)
$15 USD = an electric stove top or a pair of jeans
$20 USD = a pair of shoes or an electric fan
$50 USD = a simple mobile phone
More than $50 USD = more than we can imagine..

**These prices are current as of the end of August 2015 – the inflation rate in Venezuela means the dollar value increases daily, while the local currency of Bolivars decreases daily. People are earning less each day, yet paying more simply to exist.

People in Venezuela wait in line all day with the hope of buying a small allocation of government subsidised and heavily regulated and restricted essential items like milk, sugar, flour, rice, pasta, soap, shampoo and toilet paper. Many other basic items are too expensive for regular people to buy – if they are even available for purchase..

People wait in line for hours to withdraw money from the bank – and hope the bank still has notes available when it’s their turn..

Another line of people stretching around the corner and down to the level below, waiting all day to buy basic mobile phones. From the number of robberies that occur in Venezuela, I’m not surprised all these people need new phones.

Venezuelans are restricted to buying regulated products (the essentials that are controlled by the Govenrment, and are almost impossible to find) on the day of the week that corresponds with the final number on their National ID card

Shelves are not ‘allowed’ to remain empty, so they are stocked full of the only available products – in this case, it was baby wipes..

And here the shelves were stocked with tomato sauce (ketchup) – yet in other cities, this was a regulated product. I took these photos before I knew I could have my phone confiscated for doing  so – that’s how heavy the restrictions on information are in Venezuela today.

Petare slum, as seen from an apartment window across the highway. Petare is said to be one of the largest and most dangerous slum housing areas in South America, housing almost 500,000 people in Caracas, the second most violent city in the world with 134.36 homicides per 100,000 residents in 2013

With an estimated 24,980 homicides, or 68 murders each day, Venezuela was ranked the second most dangerous country in the world in 2014.

If you would like more information about the current situation in Venezuela please leave a comment below and we will reply ASAP. 

If you can help, a donation of any amount via PayPal below is welcome. If you prefer to deposit money directly into my account, contact me for details.

Thank you in advance!

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