USA for UNHCR’s Gene Dewey Refugee Award recognizes an individual who has demonstrated visionary leadership and extraordinary dedication to help people forcibly displaced from their homes.
Nery Santaella, the founder of Voices of Venezuela, was awarded the 2022 Gene Dewey Refugee Award for her dedication to helping people forcibly displaced from their homes. Nery founded Voices of Venezuela to help refugees build self-reliance, educate refugees about their rights and combat xenophobia and misinformation in host communities.
Nery approaches her work through the lens of lived experience — she is a refugee. Nery fled violence in Venezuela and on her journey, noticed that there was a severe lack of credible information for refugees making the trek from Venezuela to Colombia. Recognizing an opportunity to help other refugees, Nery founded Voices of Venezuela.
“We create educational resources for refugees so they can build decent lives for themselves, but more importantly they can avoid dangers,” says Nery. “Daily, I get to talk to fellow refugees that are part of my community online, and they don’t feel alone anymore.”