In Boa Vista, AVSI Brasil opens a multipurpose space to assist Venezuelan refugees and migrants and celebrates AVSI 50 anniversary.
Since 2016, more than 6 million people have fled Venezuela. About 5 million of them have found refuge in other countries of Latin America. The country’s oppressive political climate and worsening economic conditions has made the Venezuelan crisis one of the largest migration events in modern history.
Amid the crisis, AVSI has stepped up its work with refugees and migrants in the region, leveraging the little money available to create pathways for long-term integration and development for Venezuelans in host countries. Through the project Integrados, funded by the US Department of State Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration, AVSI provides legal protection, housing, and livelihoods assistance for Venezuelan refugees and migrants in three regions of Ecuador: Pichincha, Manabi, and El Oro.
Cindy Gonzalez, 32, is from Venezuela. She is living now in Pisulí, a poor remote village on the outskirts of Quito, with her husband, her mother-in-law, and her two daughters: Isabella, 3, and Ivana, 6 months. Cindy arrived in Ecuador with her family three years ago. Like most Venezuelan migrants in Ecuador, she and her husband have informal jobs, the type of unstable work that makes up a large part of the economy in developing countries. She promotes beauty products, and he sells food items on the street.
Antonello Veneri could not hide his excitement as he led groups of patrons through the halls of the new exhibit, “Welcomed: A Journey from Venezuela to Integration in Brazil,” at the Banco do Brasil Cultural Center in Brasilia. Veneri, an award-winning photographer from Italy, seemed to pulse with energy as he described the process and decisions behind each brilliant photograph.
AVSI Brasil will host two events in Brasilia to share reflections on the migration experience of Venezuelan refugees and migrants, from crossing the border in Pacaraima (RR) to achieving autonomy in Brazil, thanks to integration activities implemented by the project Welcomed through Work, funded by the US State Department Bureau for Population, Refugees and Migration (PRM).
At first glance, the two sewing machines on Gina’s front porch look ordinary. They sit on a modest wooden table surrounded by plastics bags of fabric, dresses and t-shirts hanging from racks. The house where Gina, her children, and her sewing machines live is in the middle of El Floron 4 – one of the roughest neighborhoods of Portoviejo, Ecuador. Gina’s setup may be modest, but together with an upstart group of seamstresses, she is doing something extraordinary.
On June 16th, AVSI Ecuador received a very special visit from Michael Fitzpatrick, the US Ambassador to Ecuador. Ambassador Fitzpatrick visited a multifamily housing unit, where AVSI has intervened with structural adjustments to guarantee a dignified living situation for the seven Venezuelan families who live there.
The activities in multifamily housing units are part of the larger “Integrados” project, funded by the US Department of State Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration (PRM). “Integrados” seeks to incorporate Venezuelans into Ecuadorian society through dignified shelter, access to social and legal services, and opportunities to generate income.
On Thursday, June 10, AVSI’s “Integrados” Project Manager Estefania Gomez was a featured presenter in a workshop held jointly by the Department of State Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration (PRM) and researchers from Pennsylvania State University.
After months fighting starvation, cold, family separation, and sexual harassment, Marvelis’ family enjoys a peaceful and safe house, thanks to the PRM-funded Project “Integrados”
Thanks to the project “Welcomed Through Work,” funded by the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM), AVSI Brasil has facilitated a dignified integration for more than 500 Venezuelan refugees and migrants in Brazil, with more still to come. In the project’s first year, 284 Venezuelans were hired by Brazilian companies and relocated, along with 291 family members, from reception shelters in Boa Vista to other Brazilian cities where AVSI secured accommodations. Once the hired people and their families arrive in the new cities, AVSI Brasil provides initial housing support and protection services through social workers.