Latin America

VENEZUELAN REFUGEES ARRIVE IN BRASILIA with secured jobs

In August, a group of 27 Venezuelan refugees landed at the Juscelino Kubitscheck International Airport in Brasilia to start new jobs and begin a new life in the Brazilian capital. Eleven of the refugees were hired by the fast-food chain Levvo Group, the others were family members.

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.

In Mexico, with 500 migrants to restore dignity and foster social inclusion

Born in Honduras, 17-year-old Ricardo left for the United States alone in search of the American Dream. After riding across Mexico on a train known as “The Beast” and escaping from the immigration police while trying to cross the border to the United States, Ricardo finally found the FM4 Paso Libre shelter, in the state of Jalisco. There, he was able to apply for a permit to be recognized as a refugee in Mexico.

Paula Vásquez, Crecemos cook who is preparing meals for 150 families during COVID-19

Every day, Paula Vásquez tries to create for herself and her family a “new normal” during COVID-19. She wakes up at 5:30 AM, prepares breakfast, eats alone, and leaves two meals for her sons, sixteen-year-old Jesús and ten-year-old José Luis. Then, she walks through the narrow, dusty streets of the Monte Albán Colony, one of the most vulnerable neighborhoods of Oaxaca, Mexico, to get to work. It takes her half an hour on foot to get to Crecemos, the educational center where she works as a cook. There, she washes her hands, puts on a mask, and starts her new routine. In the next eight hours, she will prepare 300 meals to be distributed to the 150 families served by Crecemos.

ernesto luque, social worker who distributes food kits to venezuelan refugees

Equipped with a mask, protective clothing, and a great desire to help, Ernesto Luque hugs his loved ones early in the morning and heads to work. Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in Ecuador, Ernesto has been delivering food rations and basic kits of protection and personal hygiene to Venezuelan refugee families. Streets are quiet and almost empty, but anxiety and uncertainty fill the air and leave a strong impression on anyone passing through the towns.

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.

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.