The photos provide a striking visual documentation of AVSI’s project, “Welcomed Through Work,” which partners with private companies to secure formal employment for Venezuelans in Brazil and helps them settle into new communities through housing support and social services. The opening of the exhibit marked two years since the project began. “Welcomed Through Work” is funded by the US Department of State’s Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration (PRM). It has now been approved for an additional two years.
So far, 465 Venezuelans have achieved formal employment through the project, and almost 1,000 have received resettlement support. While these numbers are impressive, the photo exhibit captures something not quantifiable – the real human faces and spirits experiencing this jarring transition.
Such a large undertaking requires the collaboration of many different groups. This was clear from the diverse representatives who spoke at the exhibit’s inauguration ceremony. Speakers included Fabrizio Pellicelli, President of AVSI Brasil, and Sister Rosita Milesi, director of the Migration and Human Rights Institute (IMDH – an implementing partner in the project). She spoke about a “shared dream” for the initiative and the “welcoming embrace” that must be offered to the Venezuelans. Jose Egas, the representative of UNHCR in Brazil, also spoke, as well as Bernardo de Almeida Tannuri Laferte, General Coordinator of Brazil’s National Committee for Refugees, who talked about how immigrants from Lebanon and Italy shaped the culture of his hometown.