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June 8, 2022

Empowerment through upskilling: Supporting migrant women at the Colombian/Venezuelan border

Milena, a 36-year-old single mother of two from Venezuela, is expanding her digital skillset in the hopes of starting her own company from home.
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Julia Pazos
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Milena, a 36-year-old single mother of two from Venezuela, is expanding her digital skillset in the hopes of starting her own company from home. “I like to be at home because I can keep an eye on my children and see what they are doing and teleworking gives us this opportunity of work.”


 She is one of 1.8 million Venezuelans in Colombia who have fled the political, social, and economic crisis in their homeland.


Faced with limited job options, many migrant women take on informal jobs that do not provide healthcare, are unsafe, and are paid below minimum wage in order to support themselves and their families.


However, Milena’s dream is to develop a platform for mental health support and give back to her community.  To achieve this, she is taking online courses to improve her digital skills on the Kiron Campus through a new project, Puente Digital. Puente Digital is a 12-week hybrid education and income-generation program designed by Kiron, DignifAI, & Comparte Por Una Vida Colombia and funded by the Internet Society Foundation.


This unique program is tailored to women, who are often more vulnerable and in need of flexible income generation opportunities. Through upskilling, they learn long-term job market-relevant skills that boost their social inclusion and open doors for them in the gig economy. Upskilling minimizes skill gaps and is a sustainable and empowering solution to finding dignified employment.


Participants start by learning digital and job market-relevant skills through online courses on the Kiron Campus. Once finished, they choose one of three study tracks: BPO/Call Center Industry; Gig Economy; Online Economy. Running concurrently, participants can obtain temporary work in AI data annotation through DignifAI’s Impact Sourcing operation, allowing them to earn a stable wage while gaining practical work experience.

This high-impact program is not a short-term solution but an investment in the next generations. Lilian, another single mother participating in the program, says, “I would like to learn [digital skills] for my daughters so when they have the opportunity to have cell phones, they do not make mistakes later, rather that they learn through me.”


Lilian currently sells cakes in town with her daughters, having encountered employment barriers due to her immigration status.  Puente Digital is the opportunity she’s been looking for, not only to upskill and open doors to safer work options but also for her daughters’ futures.

Puente Digital 1st cohort Quick Look:

40 students enrolled

75% women

Top courses:

  • Digital Skills (google suite), How to use Linkedin, job market preparedness
  • How-to use platforms to find remote jobs
  • Time management at work
  • Public speaking skills
  • Business communication