“Knowing that now we can move freely, have a bank account, be insured, that my children have an education ... gives me great peace of mind.”
Boca Chica, 10 June 2022 – Sachi Durán had been working double shifts for 13 years as a nurse in the city of Maracay, Venezuela, before migrating to the Dominican Republic. Her salary was barely enough to cover basic household needs, in addition to the relentless violence that made it difficult to find medicine for her young child.
Together with her husband and two children, Sachi decided to migrate to the Dominican Republic, and in 2016 arrived in Boca Chica, a small town on the shores of the Caribbean Sea, neighboring Las Americas International Airport, and port of arrival for the vast majority of the 114,000 Venezuelan migrants residing in the country.
"At the beginning, I was planning to practice my career and I brought all my legalized and authenticated documents, but not having a visa, not being regular in the country, made it very difficult for me to get a job as a nurse, so we decided to start a business," explains Sachi.
"When we began to understand what Dominicans like and identified that I could make a living giving massages and applying aesthetic treatments, we started training in that area." Her extensive experience as a nurse in intensive care and emergencies has made it easy for her to learn.
She started her small business in a room in her apartment where she set up a special space, with a dream of moving to a locale and being able to hire staff to support her.
"If you want it, you can get it," emphasizes Sachi, who says that savings and sacrifices have been the key to grow little by little and add equipment and services to her aesthetic centre.
Seven months after arriving in the Dominican Republic, she met the municipal authority of the Civil Defense and together with her husband, decided to volunteer with them. Today, Sachi leads one of the migrant organizations (Venezolanos Tricolor) that are part of the allies of the International Organization for Migration (IOM) for orientation in the Normalization Plan for Venezuelans (PNV) implemented by the Dominican government since April 2021.
"The free orientation booths have been an incredible focal point, a great accompaniment for all Venezuelans who have joined the process... and for our association, it has been a great support because the fact of being in a booth with the support of international organizations gives a lot of confidence to people and has allowed us to identify cases of vulnerability and help hundreds of Venezuelan countrymen... it is an incredible satisfaction."
Sachi has always liked to help since she was very young; she was part of the Red Cross Youth volunteer programme and since her arrival in Boca Chica, her charisma, empathy and gestures of solidarity have helped her to become a leader of the Venezuelan community in that town.
In October, Sachi obtained her temporary worker permit, the third and final step of the Migration Normalization Plan for Venezuelans in the Dominican Republic. Now she can say that she feels safe and stable in this country to continue producing and prospering with her entrepreneurship.
"Knowing that now we can move freely, that we have a bank account, that we are insured, that my children have an education ... gives me great peace of mind, I can feel optimistic," Sachi emphasizes.