Together in Healing: Migrant Women Find Strength in Mutual Support Groups

Women often take on unimaginable selflessness and sacrifice for their families, many times at the expense of their own well-being. This is no exception for the millions of Venezuelan women who have migrated to Colombia in search of a better life.

woman speaking in front of group holding microphone

Mutual support groups give women the opportunity to share experiences, heal from trauma, and connect with their neighbors.

In neighborhoods across Colombia, mutual support groups led by our Acogida program are helping Venezuelan migrants and local women connect, build friendships, and learn from one another, while also providing access to mental health professionals. For many women who have struggled after migrating, these groups have become a valuable support network and offered them a different perspective on life.

The mutual support groups are the social center of Acogida, an effort funded by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration. The groups are complemented by other Acogida activities through which participants can gain access to rental support, improved healthcare access, community-based activities, and more through the program.

With a support group to lean on and resources to count on, these women have discovered newfound strength:

Women's mutual support group members


Nancy arrived in Sincelejo six months ago to support her son and daughter-in-law, who migrated from Venezuela before her. The first months were hard, as their arepa shop was struggling and Nancy did not have luck finding another job.

Joining a Blumont-led women’s mutual support group was a big change in her journey. Through the group, she found companionship, made friends in the neighborhood, and found a space where she felt safe and cared for. Learning to express herself and feeling the support of other women lifted a significant burden off her shoulders.

“We hug, we cry together, we feel each other’s presence and support,” Nancy says.

Nancy now feels stronger and has secured employment, yet she never misses a meeting.  “We need to take time for ourselves, to value who we are.”


Greicy knows she no longer has to face hardship alone.

She migrated to Colombia two years ago, bringing her three children with her. Balancing childcare and work was a challenge that only worsened as she began feeling unsafe in her relationship. In that moment, the women’s mutual support group in her town was her helping hand.

Our psychologist leading the support group assisted Greicy in reporting the abuse, provided ongoing support, and connected her to the rent subsidy program. This gave Greicy the financial and emotional stability to leave her abusive relationship and build a life for herself and her children.

Today, Greicy supports her family through a small home-based business as a hairdresser and by selling desserts, which the women in her group help her promote. Empowered by the caring people who stand by her side, Greicy feels ready to take on whatever comes her way.


Deisy has learned the importance of prioritizing her mental well-being.

Her journey has been challenging. After migrating to Colombia four years ago, Deisy faced rejection and harassment, struggled to make ends meet with a failed business, and had difficulty finding suitable housing. These experiences had a profound impact on her outlook on life.

Everything took a turn when Deisy moved to Bucaramanga, joined the neighborhood committee, and was introduced to our Acogida team. She started receiving rental support and participating in the women’s mutual support group, where she felt the respect and understanding of other women who had similar experiences.

“I have been able to get out of the house more, and I have realized that outside these walls there are things which help clear my mind, that help me feel capable,” Deisy said.

Now, Deisy is participating actively in the community, embracing her extroverted side, and running a successful bakery with her husband.


Nora migrated to Colombia eight years ago. Despite being deeply tied to her hometown, a low-paying job there no longer allowed her to feed her three children. Determined to secure a better future for her family, Nora faced the challenges of migration as a single mother.

When Nora moved yet again, this time to Sincelejo, she was invited to join the neighborhood committee led by Acogida. Soon, she started participating in the women’s mutual support group, too. She learned she could also apply for Acogida’s rental support program, providing her with much-needed relief. These opportunities presented her with ways to connect with her community, make new friends, and build a support network she had been lacking for a long time.

“I met other single moms who were fighters, who were empowered. Listening to them made me realize we can do anything. I’ve learned women don’t have to, and should not, be quiet and silent,” Nora said.

Now, Nora is thrilled to be an active part of the community and proud to see her children integrated well into their new environment.


Yohana feels her mutual support group in Bucaramanga has helped her heal the wounds of displacement.

“After so many years since leaving home, I realized I had not been able to express and overcome the pain. Here, I had the opportunity to do that,” Yohana said.

She arrived in Colombia five years ago, carrying trauma from the insecurity and poverty that forced her to leave Venezuela. “It hurt to leave my country, but I didn’t even have time to grieve. I had to look for a way to sustain my family, afford rent, buy food,” she said.

With rental assistance available through Acogida, she could access decent housing, while the mutual support group offered her a safe space to untangle her emotions. “In this group I realized that I needed help and that it was okay to ask for it.”


Leidy and her family arrived in Colombia six years ago, looking to build a livelihood so she could provide for her children–something she struggled to do in Venezuela.

After many challenges, Leidy has found stability selling food and taking part in Acogida’s community-based activities with her family. Her participation in the women’s mutual support group has been the key to finding happiness in her new community. It’s a space for her to feel seen and to understand that what she experiences and feels is important.

Leidy shared, “Listening to the other women has shown me that we should be more united, and that we all need support.”