Financial Biographies of Migrants in Colombia

These profiles depict the grit and resourcefulness required by refugees and migrants to survive–and in some cases, thrive–as they move and settle.

By Marisol Hernandez, Heather Odell, Shane Sullivan, and Rosemary Ventura under the supervision of Kim Wilson

 In 2022, in the cities of Cartagena and Medellín, our team of researchers examined the financial lives of Venezuelan households living and working both in downtown and more fringe geographies. We held in-person interviews with both Venezuelan migrants and local Colombians. Our goal was to understand  Venezuelan’s  financial journeys — how they were able, or not, to adapt or integrate into their new economic surroundings. In particular we wanted to understand how Mercy Corps, our sponsor, might structure its services to meet key financial gaps. Besides our interviews, we conducted transect walks, held informal conversations with landlords, bodega owners, as well as street vendors.

The biographies in this volume are intended to preserve the entire financial story of selected respondents and are meant to supplement our other publications, taking the reader into the depths of individual migrant experiences.

This research also informed Financial Archetypes and How to Use Them, a tool for practitioners and policymakers to improve their financial health programming.

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