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Migrating is an act of Courage: Traveling Exhibition on Venezuelan Migration

Mobilize the exhibition on migration to the 7 largest migrant receptor cities in Colombia, over the course of 2020, to counter xenophobia.

Photo of Victoria Dangond
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What problem does the idea help to solve and how does your solution work? (2,000 characters maximum)

Migration has long been the object of study of various branches of social sciences. In the Colombian case, internal migratory movements have taken place for decades and have built a social imaginary that has normalized this phenomenon. These situations require reflection spaces, especially when in the last five years the flow of international migrants to Colombia has increased significantly. The immigration of 1.3 million Venezuelan nationals to Colombia, one of the largest migrations in recent Latin American history, has generated diverse reactions, many of them negative, amongst Colombian citizens furthering inequality. The problem is that none of the host cities are properly equipped to foster their potential for hospitality and solidarity and avoid xenophobic attitudes. Maloka seeks to counter negative attitudes towards immigrants through a traveling exhibition on migrations. The aim of this project is three-fold: it will contribute to the construction of recognition strategies, prevent rejection or xenophobic attitudes towards immigrants and become a positive labor alternative for Venezuelan immigrants who will become exhibition mentors and guides. Once the exhibit is fully functional it will have a series of modules, each one addressing a different aspect of migration: The journey itself (how it is an act of survival, bravery, and search to move across the border to another, unknown territory); Memory (loosing and holding on to one's identity, stories and diversity); and the Encounter (the possibility of conflict in the host community, the possibility of dialogue, cultural enrichment and the discovery of empathy). The exhibit will have the potential to host over 500 visitors daily, over 16,000 per month in seven different regions of the country. That means that in a year of operation 112,000 individuals will recognize that immigrants are not one anonymous group but individuals, each with a separate story and life journey that we can and must respect.

Geography of focus (500 characters)

According to Colombian Migration authorities, over 1,260,000 Venezuelans have migrated to Colombia in the past 10 years: Bogota is the city that has received the highest number of Venezuelan migrants, followed closely by border cities in Norte de Santander and La Guajira, and other departments with large cities like Atlántico and Antioquia. With the financial support multiple sponsors, Maloka expects to take the traveling exhibit to seven of these cities across Colombia.

Building Bridges: What bridge does your idea build between people on the move and neighbors towards a shared future of stability and promise? (500 characters)

Given the fluctuating economy in the country, Venezuelan immigrants are seen as competitors and not allies, as “the other” and not as individuals. These xenophobic attitudes are prevalent in Colombian cities that host large immigrant communities. The purpose of the project is to create a traveling exhibit on migration with input from Venezuelan immigrants and take it to cities across the country to bridge the ignorance gap, contribute to the understanding on what motivates migration.

What human need is your idea solving for? (1,000 characters)

This project addresses psychological needs of immigrants and host communities. In addition, the exhibit will be a job opportunity for venezuelan immigrants who will be hired to mentor and guide the traveling exhibition.

What will be different within the community of focus as a result of implementing your idea? (1,000 characters)

There is a direct impact on the number of jobs created for Venezuelan immigrants. This is one of the largest hurdles that immigrants must face in Colombia; because they mostly settle into informal occupations that further the stigma of immigrants as a financial burden on the receiving community. As exhibit guides, these individuals will be trained to asses visitor feedback and report back to Maloka their findings.

What is the inspiration behind your idea? (1,000 characters)

Maloka´s Interactive Center is located in the same neighborhood as the main bus terminal in Bogotá, Colombia’s capital. The bus terminal is the point of entry for most immigrants who arrive in Bogota, the city hosting more Venezuelan immigrants than any other city in Colombia. Between 2018 and 2019 there was a temporary shelter camp that housed Venezuelan families who had previously been sleeping outside the city’s main bus terminal, so the sight of homeless children, men and women became a common sight in the neighborhood were Maloka is located; we knew, that as learning center, we had to do something about it and hence we began to imagine a traveling exhibit that could counter xenophobic attitudes around the country.

Describe the dynamics of the community in which the idea is to be implemented. (1,000 characters)

Our objective is to take this traveling exhibition on migrations to multiple cities and towns in Colombia that have become host communities to Venezuelan migrants. We intend to serve both Colombian citizens and Venezuelan migrants who will visit the exhibition and gain a deeper understanding of migration phenomenons and host communities, how to counter xenophobic attitudes and create safer, more respectful environments.  The intended route for the traveling exhibition will mimic one of the routes that immigrants take as they begin their daunting journey in the Colombia-Venezuela border, cross over and walk through many towns and cities until they reach their intended destination if any.

How does your idea leverage and empower community strengths and assets to help create an environment for success? (1,000 characters)

Maloka has over 20 years of experience producing exhibitions that share knowledge with visitors so they may understand the phenomenons around them. We are committed to leveraging our scientific, social and technical know-how to make the exhibition on migrations a success. One of the key processes in the conceptualization of the exhibition is the input from Venezuelan migrants to understand the implications and specificities of their journey. 

What other partners or stakeholders will work alongside you in implementing the idea, if any? (1,000 characters)

So far, we have procured financial aid from The International Organization for Migration and Ford Foundation for the coceptualizatio, design and production phases of the project and the exhibition components. We will also be working alongside the Bogota Mayors Office department on Migration.

What part of the displacement journey is your solution addressing

  • Being on the move, crossing borders, and/or temporarily settled

Tell us how you'd describe the type of innovation you are proposing

  • Platform: Creating a community or market that facilitates interaction between users and resources

Idea Proposal Stage

  • Prototype: We have done some small tests or experiments with prospective users to continue developing the idea.

Group or Organization Name

Corporación Maloka

Tell us more about your group or organization [or lived experience as a displaced person?] (1000 characters)

Maloka is a private non-profit organization that fosters the appropriation of sciences to enrich citizen culture and contribute to sustainable development. For two decades, Maloka has positioned itself as an innovative learning scenario, and as such, it is constantly rethinking its exhibitions and learning experiences that will respond to changing social dynamics and resonate with the interests of individuals that will be able to achieve their full potential and collectively contribute to a more equitable society. Within this framework and mission Maloka's exhibitions involve a cross-section of the themes such as climate change, the senses, water, human life, health and the history of science. Maloka´s first target audience is inner-city children and youth in Bogotá, however, the traveling exhibitions across the country, science clubs, conference cycles, and audiovisual settings have attracted a variety of audiences that benefit from what Maloka has to offer.

Website URL:

Type of submitter

  • We are a registered Non-Profit Organization

Organization Headquarters: Country


Organization Headquarters: City / State



Join the conversation:

Photo of Diogenes Infante

Hola, Mi nombre es Diógenes Infante tengo propuesto esta idea: Creo que tenemos varios puntos comunes, uno sobre todo: nuestros migrantes. Vamos a conectarnos, aquí en el norte del Ecuador tenemos una comunidad de profesionales que estamos organizándonos para trabajar en la atención de los migrantes. Por ejemplo, estamos desarrollando sensores inteligentes para la agricultura y tenemos una propuesta de una granja. Por favor, revisa mi propuesta y déjame tus comentarios. Así vamos avanzando. Saludos.

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