Felipe Fernando Silva Ramos  ·  Venezuela

They are people that God placed in my path

It is not easy to have no family nearby, to start from zero, completely alone.

Edited by Heather Oman
Story and Photography by Maria Elisa Ramirez Toro
Felipe Silva Work

My name is Felipe Fernando Silva Ramos. I'm 22 years old. I was born in Cuidad Ojeda, the third-largest city in the state of Zulia.

I studied Business Administration in INCE and when I was finished, I was able to get a job as an Administrative Assistant.

I was forced to leave Venezuela due to the difficult situation and political differences with the student center members in my university, which led them to persecute and threaten me for not supporting the government. I was also assaulted by the Bolivian Nation Gard during the 2014 protests. They broke my ribs for the simple fact of participating and raising my voice against a dictatorial government.

In July 2016, I arrived in Colombia. It was very hard to abandon everything: my life, family, and studies. It is not easy to have no family nearby, to start from zero, completely alone. I lasted a little while without a job but then I ran out of money. I was able to find a job in a supermarket. I started doing everything, including cleaning. They had me run the cashier and inventory on overtime, all for the same pay. I left that job after 8 months, and almost immediately started working at the clothing sore where I currently work earning minimum wage (USD 262.70/month). I am very grateful to the Colombian people for lending me a hand. They are people that God placed in my path. I'd like to get a better job to move forward and get on with my life.

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