December 31, 2020

A new reception center to host venezuelan refugees will open in early 2021

The initiative is part of the PRM-funded project Welcomed Through Work, implemented by AVSI Brasil and the Migration and Human Rights Institute (IMDH)

In early 2021, AVSI Brasil will open a new space in Brasília to temporarily host Venezuelan migrants moving to Brazil’s capital from the refugee centers in Roraima, near the border with Venezuela. The initiative is part of Welcomed Through Work, a project implemented by AVSI Brasil and The Migration and Human Rights Institute (IMDH) with funding from the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration (PRM).

Designed to support and complement Operation Welcome – The Brazilian government-led response to the Venezuelan migration crisis — Welcomed Through Work also collaborates with the President’s Civil House, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), and local civil society entities working with refugees and migrants.

General Antonio Manoel de Barros, currently in charge of Operation Welcome, visited the new reception center in Brasilia in December. He was invited by Fabrizio Pellicelli, AVSI Brasil President.

"I'm glad I could come and visit this space,” said Barros after a tour through the center. "It is strategically located and can help us while transferring migrants. It is invigorating and stimulating to learn that the center will offer training and workshops in addition to being a shelter. These activities will enhance the professional profiles of Venezuelans and Brazilians in vulnerable situations, supporting their reintegration into society."

The reception center for socio-professional integration of migrants will operate inside a building provided by the National Conference of Bishops of Brazil (CNBB) and managed jointly by AVSI Brasil and IMDH. The center will serve as a temporary residence for families and individuals in a rotating system.  

Sister Rosita Milesi, Founder of IMDH, believes that the center will be a place where migrants can overcome the hardships found on their journey. Living in the security of the center, they will be able to recover their strength and prepare to start their new jobs and truly integrate into a new country.

"We are preparing a dignified space where we can offer migrants a fraternal and welcoming experience," describes Sister Rosita. "We want to offer them the chance to get organized and get integrated into their new home, Brasília."

Before coming to Brasília, migrants and refugees live in Roraima, waiting for an opportunity to find a job and resettle in another city. Once at the reception center in Brasília, at least one family member will have a formal job, and they will have time to find a permanent residency.

“It is important that they know that once in Brasília, they will have this ‘oasis’,” says sister Rosita. “It’s just a stop, it’s transitory, short-lived, but it’s important that they have this space so they can establish themselves before continuing their path to autonomy.”