By: Marisol Hernandez, Heather Odell, Shane Sullivan, and Rosemary Ventura under the supervision of Kim Wilson
This collection of profiles from Colombia explores stories that highlight refugee and migrant journeys and their efforts to adapt to new surroundings. The profiles, dubbed Financial Biographies, included in this volume depict the grit and resourcefulness required by refugees and migrants to survive and in some cases thrive as they move and settle.
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.