Thais saw the success of the first relocation as a sign that AVSI Brasil would successfully implement the project since other companies began to show their interest in hiring Venezuelan refugees. However, in March, when the country registered the first case of COVID-19, the “Welcomed Through Work” team had to review their approach.
“To guarantee everybody’s safety, we had to redesign our plan and put in place new protocols to continue the project,” says Thais.
The second relocation took place six months later, this time in partnership with Refúgio 343. They hired ten attendants for a fast-food restaurant chain in Brasília. Twelve family members joined the group, and 22 people in total were relocated.
“Fortunately, since then, we have been able to do a series of integrations through work to several states in Brazil,” says Thais. “We learned that, even during these difficult times, private companies still want to engage in the Venezuelan humanitarian assistance.”
From September 2020 through March 2021, AVSI Brasil carried out 14 “interiorizations” to eight Brazilian states. The most recent activity happened at the end of March when 85 people were hired by a hospital supply company in Blumenau, Santa Catarina. Their relocation was possible thanks to a partnership with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and with the support of “Operation Welcome.”
Venezuelans hired through the project have filled diverse professional roles, including production operators, general services assistants, mechanics, restaurant attendants, and cooks.
Thais says that the private sector commitment to the health and job training of new employees was essential to the project’s success.
“It is crucial to ensure that those selected are fit for the tasks they were hired to perform. A primary condition is that they are healthy from the beginning,” says Thais. “So we work in partnership with companies to guarantee all the necessary conditions, such as the monitoring of admission exams, vaccination, COVID-19 tests, among others”.
By September 2021, “Welcomed Through Work” will integrate at least 337 Venezuelan refugees and migrants through work and offer relocation, accommodation and social assistance to 761 people.