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Former Venezuelan soccer player “dribbled” challenges and began a new life in Brazil

Miguel Arcangel’s love for sports began early, more precisely at the age of four, when he stepped for the first time on a field in Venezuela to practice his favorite sport: soccer. Since then, he had dedicated more than 30 years to soccer. Miguel achieved the top of his career playing for Monagas Sport Club, a soccer team playing at the top level, the Primera División Venezolana. Ricardo, his younger brother, recalls that Miguel used to travel a lot while playing for them.

Brazilian inmates make masks during the covid-19 epidemic

In the Latin American country, where the pandemic is dramatic with 1 million cases and 50,000 deaths, 400 “recuperandos” in 23 APACs, Brazilian prisons with no guards, are making 350,000 masks to reduce the spread of the novel coronavirus. The protective equipment will be donated to the most vulnerable population thanks to a project implemented by AVSI and funded by the European Union.

Story of a Venezuelan Family & Their Move

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.

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.

From starving to supporting their families: the journey of two Venezuelan refugees in Brazil

A year ago, Jon and Alberto could not afford to put food on the table and decided to cross the border with Brazil with wives and children. Now, thanks to AVSI, they work for a beverage company in Salvador, Bahia. Jon and Alberto were the first beneficiaries of the project Welcomed Through Work, now funded by U.S. Department of State Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration (PRM).

On the same boat: an update from Queen of the Apostles School in Manaus

Until a few days ago, it seemed like the coronavirus had not yet affected Manaus. Only days ago, the beaches of Rio de Janeiro were crowded. A million supporters rallied for President Jair Bolsonaro, who shook hands with a myriad of people. On March 13th, the first two cases were reported in Manaus and the State mandated school that all schools be closed immediately.

Here, at the Queen of the Apostles School (Rainha dos Apostolos), we consulted with the students as well as some of their families. Together, we decided that dismissing all 110 students would pose a higher risk of exposure than allowing them to stay. The several days of travel required for many students to return home would create many more opportunities for exposure than staying here on campus where we can ensure that necessary precautions are taken, including social distancing, and thorough cleaning. At this time, we are waiting for the state authorities to share their decision about our proposal.

Venezuelan Refugees and Migrants Deserve More

On October 28-29, in Brussels, the European Union, with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM), co-hosted the International Solidarity Conference on the Venezuelan Refugee and Migrant Crisis. Giampaolo Silvestri, AVSI Secretary General, shared the experience of AVSI with Venezuelans in Brazil from the floor.