Mother combing child's hair (© Matias Delacroix/AFP/Getty Images)
Judith Saracual helps her daughter get ready for school in Caracas, Venezuela, in May. (© Matias Delacroix/AFP/Getty Images)

The U.S. is helping Venezuelan children to continue learning even after they’ve fled their country.

Enrollment in kindergarten through 12th grade in Venezuela fell by 2 million children between 2016 and 2018. Some children dropped out of school because of electricity blackouts or food shortages. Many left Venezuela. More than 4 million Venezuelans, including 1 million children, have left for neighboring countries as a result of the former Nicolás Maduro regime’s disastrous policies.

That’s why the U.S. has provided more than $376 million in funding for the Venezuelan regional crisis response, including nearly $334 million in humanitarian aid and $43 million in economic and development assistance, since the start of fiscal year 2017.

Teacher leading students at desks in darkened classroom (© Ruben Sevilla Brand/Picture Alliance/Getty Images)
A teacher instructs a class during an electricity blackout in Caracas in May. (© Ruben Sevilla Brand/Picture Alliance/Getty Images)

Venezuelan children who have left their country face many hardships. Some face barriers to attending schools in their host countries. The U.S. supports their access to safe education.

Education Cannot Wait, a nongovernmental organization that has received $21 million from the U.S. from 2017 to 2019, announced in June a $7 million initiative to reach 84,500 out-of-school children and adolescents in Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru. The program will benefit both Venezuelan and host-country children.

Disrupting children’s education brings steep and long-term costs. Research shows that severe and prolonged suffering harms brain development and predicts higher drop-out rates and lower literacy rates. The U.S. humanitarian response through its partners limits the chance that Venezuela’s crisis will create a lost generation of youth unprepared to contribute to society.

In addition to providing funding to help children learn, the U.S. has deployed the USNS Comfort hospital ship on a five-month mission to Central American, South American and Caribbean countries to support health care systems accommodating displaced Venezuelans.