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VENEZUELAN FAMILY MOVES TO THE STATE OF SANTA CATARINA IN SOUTHERN BRAZIL AND BECOMES SELF-SUFFICIENT

After leaving Venezuela and living for a year in Boa Vista, Brazil, Venezuelan refugee Ricardo José Blanco Rojas, 49 years old, is beginning a new chapter of his life in the southern Brazilian state of Santa Catarina, where he and his family have lived since February.

The Rojas family moved to the city of Seara thanks to “Welcomed Through Work,” a project funded by the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM) and implemented by AVSI Brasil. A local food processing company hired Ricardo and his brother while AVSI Brasil rented an apartment for them for three months. The family also received social assistance for their first three months in the new city. As part of the project’s social assistance component, a social worker helps families integrate into their new community and workplace.

AVSI country offices and partners response to COVID-19 pandemic

AVSI is monitoring the continued development of the coronavirus pandemic in countries where we operate. We are aware of risks that local populations will face, especially having limited access to precarious health systems and already struggling with poverty, hunger, and conflict. AVSI staff continues to accompany our beneficiaries, following safety regulations implemented in each country. We are doing everything we can to ensure minimal interruption of our initiatives, which many people need even more right now. Below are some testimonials we have received from colleagues, who like all of us, have to adapt, be creative, and remain hopeful during these difficult times.

22-year-old teacher reads fairy tales on radio, tv and over the phone during COVID-19

Since March 23, when the Government in Mozambique closed all schools to avoid the spread of COVID-19, 22-year-old Misnia Zefanias Vilaculos has been struggling with a major challenge:

“The most difficult part of this epidemic is not being able to be with my students, children are a source of happiness and creativity, I miss them so much,” says Misnia.

For the last year and a half, Misnia had been going every day to the Xtinza Cultural Center and to the ten elementary schools in the Nhamankulo slum, one of the poorest neighborhoods on the outskirts of Maputo, to read and interact with children. With a strong passion for literature, Misnia not only shares the importance of reading but also helps students understand the messages contained in each story and imagine a better world. Not willing to interrupt this incredible encounter, AVSI moved Misnia’s reading session to a virtual platform. Now, instead of visiting the cultural center and schools, she goes to the local radio station where she reads a fairytale and leaves a message or simple greeting.

Amid COVID-19 pandemic AVSI uses zoom to continue teacher training in Dadaab camp

Amid COVID-19 epidemic, AVSI is reinventing itself to be able to carry out projects and accompany beneficiaries. In Kenya, inside the Dadaab refugee camp, one of the largest camps in the world (200,000 people are currently living there), we are using Zoom to train teachers to provide quality education to the refugee and host community schools. The activity is part of the project “Transitional Support for Integration and Quality of Education in Dadaab Refugee and Host Community,” funded by the U.S. State Department’s Bureau for Population, Refugees and Migration (PRM).

Radio as a tool to improve reading skills during COVID-19 epidemic in Ivory Coast

Physical distance cannot prevent learning. As schools have closed all around the world due to the COVID-19 epidemic, it is essential that children can still learn, no matter where they are or how. In Ivory Coast, AVSI, with the DPCE (Directorate of Pedagogy and Continuing Education), is working with the Ministry of Education to continue providing access to primary education for all children through radio. The initiative My Class at Home” includes a radio show called “Little Stories of Uncle Marco,” in which students, teachers, and hosts read Ivorians short stories and tales.

Integrated Venezuelan family shares their experience with U.S. Ambassador in Brazil through videoconference

The Torrealba Garcia family was planning to have a quiet Thursday, only interrupted by a small party to celebrate Richard’s 40th birthday. But this year the celebration was a bit different. Early in the morning, the Venezuelan family received a call from Todd Chapman, U.S. Ambassador to Brazil, who invited them to join him on a video call in Spanish. The encounter was organized by the U.S. Embassy, who has been checking in with the families integrated through “Welcomed Through Work,” a project funded by the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM) and implemented by AVSI Brasil.

Open Hospitals. Pope Francis donates ten ventilators to support COVID-19 emergency in Syria

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The Congregation for the Eastern Churches has set up an emergency fund responding to the urging of the Holy Father not to abandon those who are suffering, especially the poorest, during the global crisis caused by the COVID-19 epidemic.

On behalf of Pope Francis, ten ventilators were donated and will be installed in the three hospitals supported by the project “Open Hospitals”, started in 2016 thanks to the initiative of Cardinal Mario Zenari, Apostolic Nuncio in Syria, and in partnership with the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development.

Crecemos responds to COVID-19 offering daily support to children and families

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On March 20, Mexico closed schools nationwide to prevent the spread of COVID-19. A few days earlier, on March 17, Crecemos had already sent home the children who come regurarly to the educational center located in one of the poorest neighborhoods in Oaxaca, Mexico. In their bags, Crecemos staff helped them pack homework, instructions on how to wash hands and keep social distance and their musical instrument.