Monday, December 4

Going from the comfort zone to social assistance, the survival story of Heymar Arvelo

Heymar del Carmen Arvelo Espinoza arrived in Spain on June 1, 2017 from the Venezuelan state of Vargas with her husband Eric Mendoza and their one-year-old daughter Emma. In her native country, she left her family, her friends and a stable job as an administrator at the state airline so that Eric, who urgently needed a kidney transplant, could be operated on in our country because in his country the chances of survival were minimal. Once the disease was overcome, both have gone their separate ways. Heymar del Carmen has had to resort to the help of social organizations such as Cáritas to support her daughter. This month she runs out of unemployment.

Opinion – Spain is not a country for the poor


In these six years, Heymar del Carmen has learned to deal with the difficulties that arise every day since he left his comfort zone. He longs for the past, focuses on the present, and thinks about the future. A past where her parents, her siblings, her friends and her work as an administrator in the Credit and Collections area at Viasa airline are, a present that completely fills her daughter and a future uncertain because the lack of work is overwhelming her.

“My mother Marily and my father Héctor were very sad when I had to tell them that I was going to Spain with their only granddaughter and although it was hard because they did not want me to leave, they accepted it in the best possible way. My brothers Manuel and Alejandro were in Venezuela and shortly after I came here my brother William went to Costa Rica to work. And I don’t think I’ll go back to my country anymore. My idea is to stay in Asturias ”, he affirms.

The day after the doctor told us that there were minimal possibilities with the treatment, we bought the tickets and came to Spain. We had no papers, no accommodation, nor had we contacted a hospital

Although her roots were in Venezuela, she did not doubt for a second that the only feasible alternative was to travel to Spain to save the life of her then-partner. Eric Mendoza, who is currently 43 years old, urgently needed a kidney transplant. Treatment in his native country was running out and the doctors gave him a slim chance of survival.

“They told us that the treatment would end in 15 days and that Eric would have to depend on a dialysis machine again because his health conditions were not good. At that moment we made the decision to come to Spain because if we stayed in Venezuela he would surely die. In fact, several of his colleagues with whom he went to treatment ended up dying. We don’t think about it. The day after speaking with the doctors, we bought the tickets and came to Spain with our daughter Emma Alejandra, who was only one year old”, she explains.

The couple had no family roots or friends in Spain. Heymar del Carmen reports that they only had the “comment from a friend of an acquaintance” who had come to our country to be treated for a medical problem similar to Eric’s, but they did not even have a guaranteed hospital that could carry out the surgical intervention. nor had they contacted any health center.

Heymar del Carmen acknowledges that he did not have a good time when he had to leave his entire life in Venezuela, but Eric’s health was essential: “We took a risk without knowing for sure if we were going to have any help. We didn’t have lodging, papers, or anything, but I urgently needed Eric to be treated. At the age of 18, he began with diabetes that caused him vision problems, then he became hypertensive and, finally, the issue of the kidneys, which was the final blow. He also had a pancreas transplant, but now he is in very good health and goes for check-ups every six months ”.

Since his arrival in our country, he has had the advice and help of organizations such as Accem (Spanish Catholic Migration Commission Association), the Red Cross and Cáritas. Madrid, Ávila and Valladolid were her initial destinations before establishing her permanent residence in the Asturian city of Gijón, where she assures that Eric, her daughter Emma and she feel very comfortable, especially since he has found work and the girl has adapted perfectly at school and she already feels like “one more Asturian”, says her mother proudly.

In six years I have worked as a kitchen assistant, telemarketer, cashier, replenisher, parcel deliverer and has walked an elderly lady. I aspire to have job stability to support my daughter

Heymar del Carmen adapted well at first, but now he misses having a group of friends to go out with, even once in a while, especially since he broke up: “I don’t have any friends in Spain. My only support is my daughter and although her father helps me a lot in taking care of her, I miss going out with friends in Spain”, she corroborates.

At 38 years old, this Venezuelan aspires to find a job that offers her the necessary stability to support her daughter. Her first job in our country was as a companion for an elderly lady with whom she went for a walk. She likes to say that she was her lady-in-waiting. That job was followed by others as a kitchen assistant, telemarketer, cashier and replenisher in two supermarkets and her last job was as a parcel delivery person.

She is currently taking a Vocational Training (FP) course on administrative procedures that will end next September and which she accessed through the advice of Cáritas, the organization to which she is very grateful for the support it provides.

“In Cáritas they helped me channel the issue of writing a resume and sending it to companies to get a job. I was also in training with Mariam and Mónica who were looking out for me and helped me with some food tickets and now they guided me to take this course on administrative procedures to update my knowledge ”, she confirms.

With the end of the aid from the Public Service of the Principality of Asturias (SEPEPA) imminent, since it ends next June, his main concern is to find a job quickly. Now she already has papers and she would like to be able to offer a better life to her daughter than her, according to her, every day she feels more integrated into Asturian society. Heymar del Carmen believes that her future, although full of uncertainty, is in Asturias.

The face of vulnerability that turns to Cáritas is feminine

This Venezuelan settled in Asturias is one of the users of Cáritas. The organization presented last month its report on activities carried out during the past year. Their work consists of accompanying the people who participate in their programs throughout their growth process, recovery of dignity and acquisition of rights that correspond to them as citizens, in order for them to reintegrate into the community of which they are a part. or to which they arrive from other places.

The report on activities shows that the face of vulnerability is female due to the scarcity of resources, little support and assuming the responsibility of raising and caring for their children alone, a profile in which Heymar del Carmen fits.

The parish Cáritas have accompanied 12,168 people who live in 5,140 homes, which represents 25.4% more homes and 20% more people than in 2021.

The largest amount has been allocated to cover basic needs, followed by aid to meet the costs of housing, supplies and other concepts. 76 out of every 100 families that come to Cáritas for the first time are immigrants, compared to 69 in 2021.

One in four of these households is single-parent and headed by a woman, closely followed by single-person households. In 75 households out of 100, the person who goes to Cáritas to request help is a woman and almost 40% of them live with minors.

The teams of the Solidarity Economy Program accompanied 895 people on job search itineraries. Various training actions were carried out in which 189 people participated and a total of 124 obtained a job.