From refugee to neighbor: GRACE stories; Spotlight on Carlos Cabeza

We want to honor de resilience of the Venezuelan refugees who became part of our community in Cuenca.

At the age of 24, Carlos graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education from one of the most prestigious universities in the country. Upon graduating, he decided to emigrate from Venezuela in search of the possibility of having a better quality of life that his government did not offer.

He found a warm and welcoming home in Cuenca, Ecuador. He worked in various music schools for children, but without planning it, his passion for fitness and Crossfit became his main livelihood abroad. While working out in the gym like every morning, an American came in looking for a personal trainer, but they all needed to speak English. Carlos, who does speak English, has wanted to help since then, and based on his recommendation, his career as a personal trainer began to take off, thanks to the excellent recommendations he received from his clients.

His dedication and skills as a coach led him to become the best coach of the year 2023, by the Gringopost community. Carlos’s story reminds us that opportunities can present themselves in the most unexpected places and that dedication and effort can lead us to achieve our dreams and goals.

Carlos has built a prosperous life for himself and his family, to whom he sends money back to Venezuela every month. But what excites us most about Carlos’ story is his positive and empathic attitude towards others. Despite facing difficulties and prejudices as a migrant, he has a message of inclusion and respect for all human beings. His example teaches us that, although we may have cultural or origin differences, we all share the exact fundamental needs and rights as human beings.

Does Cuenca welcome migrants or refugees?
Thanks to many foundations and organizations such as GRACE, foreigners and refugees have facilities that they did not have five years ago. Upon arrival, I must admit that Ecuadorians were relatively close to foreigners. They are jealous of their culture and customs. However, over time they warmly welcomed Venezuelans.

What was the best lesson you learned from emigrating?
Start again. If there’s one thing I’ve learned in these five years, it’s always possible to start over. I have met people who, like me, left Venezuela with a profession, business, or trade and started something completely different from scratch. My example: I never thought I would dedicate myself to fitness, although it was always part of my life, thank God it was a door that opened for me, and today it is the livelihood of my home.

Contact info:

Karla Sánchez Arismendi
Journalist and Fundación GRACE Director

Want to help?
Please consider making a donation to GRACE today. You tax deductible donation will go a long way in helping refugees in Ecuador make a new life for themselves, and is integral for them to transform a life altering crisis, into a self transforming process that not only benefits themselves and their families, but the communities that they now call home.

Karla Sanchez Arismendi: 095 920 4786. Call after: 9 AM.

City: Cuenca