Uniting Flavours for a Better Future: Peru makes space for refugees and migrants
27 September 2023
Peru and Venezuela are two countries with twinned histories and cultures. They are also united by global recognition for their rich gastronomy, which today serves to integrate not only flavors, but entire communities.
Peru is the second country in the world with the largest refugee and migrant population from Venezuela: more than 1.5 million people who still face difficulties in exercising their rights and their social and economic integration, and who represent an important potential for the country's development.
"We have the need to emerge. The United Nations gives us an important space because it teaches us and trains us to move forward with an initiative or business idea," said Esther Montero, a graduate student of cocktail making.
UN agencies, funds and programs in Peru offer humanitarian assistance and support the socioeconomic integration process of the refugee and migrant population to face the challenges and enhance the positive impacts of migration. In parallel, they contribute to supporting local host communities.
The leadership of the UN Resident Coordinator, Igor Garafulic, the strategies deployed by the UN country team in Peru and the close coordination with the Peruvian government have made it possible to meet the protection, health, nutrition, education and work needs, among others, of tens of thousands of families in regions such as Tumbes, Piura, La Libertad and Lima.
"The attention to the Venezuelan refugee and migrant population has also allowed us to expand access to basic services to the local Peruvian population and to make the needs of the host communities more visible. Communities that thrive are resilient and adapt to change, strengthening their ties and taking advantage of the opportunities brought by the integration of the migrant population," said the UN Resident Coordinator.
Following this premise, Uniendo Sabores - a project implemented by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) - offers a space for the integration of cultures while promoting labor inclusion and the generation of sustainable livelihoods. This is achieved through workshops for refugees, migrants and Peruvians in the specialties of pastry making, cocktails and gastronomy, complemented by marketing and entrepreneurship classes.
"The capacity building and exchanges between Venezuelan and Peruvian entrepreneurs promoted by the UN country team, enrich the gastronomic offer in the north of the country, help hundreds of families to support themselves and favor a better coexistence in the communities," added Mr. Garafulic.
Since 2022, four promotions of 265 graduates have graduated from Uniendo Sabores in Piura. Most of the participants, who had their own entrepreneurship or business idea to develop, were provided with tools to help them achieve their goals.
"Uniendo Sabores has helped me to get ahead and integrate. I learned how I can improve my recipes that I brought from Venezuela and integrate flavors", explains Freddy Peers, gastronomy graduate student.
In addition, to reinforce integration in the communities, children and adolescents participated in itinerant baking workshops. The baking classes were combined with playful games to promote unity, solidarity and recreation.
Thanks to its success, this project is currently being upscaled in Tumbes and Trujillo, cities which have received large refugee and migrant populations, in northern Peru. Meanwhile, its fifth promotion is about to start in the city of Piura. This is how the union of Peruvian and Venezuelan flavors contributes to building a more prosperous future, with respect for the rights of all people and without leaving anyone behind.
For more information about the UN's work in Peru, please visit peru.un.org