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Venezuelan agency calls for industry support

A Venezuelan agent working in the education counselling business for over 20 years has spoken with The PIE News about how her business has been decimated by the currency devaluation and economic strife in her country.

Education agent Venezuela IVIA girl sings the national anthem during protests in Venezuela in January. Photo: Ruben Alfonzo/Shutterstock

Some summer camps in the US have been "unbelievable" in offering places with massive cost reductions

She said that without industry support and understanding that students had severely limited economic means, her business could falter completely.

Christina Vareschi has let nearly all of her staff go and is using some on a freelance basis, running her business remotely from Miami for some of the time, because the internet and phone lines are not reliable in her country.

Speaking at the ICEF Miami conference, she said, “This is the first year in all these years I am going to ICEF or other conferences that I say, ‘Sorry but I need help now’,” she related.

Some summer camps in the US have been “unbelievable” in offering places with massive cost reductions, she added.

Vareschi revealed that visas were becoming more difficult to obtain for the US, but she still did have families that could send their children overseas to study.

“Wherever they can go – most of them go to neighbouring countries: Colombia, Brazil, Peru, Panama, Mexico. Obviously, if they can come, also the US.”

She revealed she was looking into US community colleges as another option for her clients to consider.

“Maybe it’s an alternative; there are always ways,” she said. “I’m known as a student organisation in Venezuela and I just don’t want to lose it completely. I do whatever I can.”

Vareschi is operating in very difficult conditions, and more than three million Venezuelans have left the country in recent years.

In recent days, the leader of the legislature, Juan Guaidó, has declared himself acting president, a move which current president Nicolás Maduro has rebutted, leading to further political turmoil as Guaidó has had his bank accounts frozen.

Read the full interview with Vareschi here.

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