August 2, 2020

venezuelan refugees arrive in brasilia with secured jobs

Migrants were living in reception centers in the state of Roraima and were resettled thanks to the PRM-funded project Welcomed Through Work

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 restaurant chain Levvo Group, the others were family members.

The jobs were made possible because of the strong partnership between the Levvo Group, which picked the candidates, the humanitarian organization Refúgio 343, responsible for conducting the interviews inside the reception centers in Roraima, and preparing candidates for a professional opportunity, and AVSI Brasil, responsible for the “interiorization” of the Venezuelan refugees thanks to the Welcomed Through Work project. As part of this project, funded by the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM), AVSI Brasil rents apartments for the refugees for three months. Beneficiaries and their families also receive social assistance for the first three months of living in the new city. A social worker helps families integrate into their new community and workplace.

"This support is essential because they have just left a reception center and cannot afford to pay rent or any other expense,"

Laura Oliveira, president and founder of the Levvo Group, believes that inclusion is one of the most critical components of Welcomed Through Work, and this aligns with the company’s mission.

"The human factor is crucial at a time when the world is undergoing great transformation," says Laura Oliveira. "We're paying attention. We understand that incorporating employees from different cultures and life experiences can add value to our team, as well as professional and personal growth for each of us."

Ismenia Elena, 46, is one of the refugees who went through the selection process and moved to Brasilia with a guaranteed job. She arrived in Brazil in 2018, after crossing the border by herself.

“I am pleased with this new job that will allow me to achieve the dream of having a home, my little corner, again,” she said. In her free time, Ismenia wants to help the elderly. “This is what I used to do in Venezuela, and I want to do it again. I’ve been helped, and more than ever, I want to help those in need.”
The refugees’ flights to Brasilia were paid for by the International Organization for Migration (IOM). Upon arrival, they were relocated to temporary accommodations sponsored by Welcomed Through Work. Before coming to Brasilia, the 27 refugees were living in reception centers in Boa Vista, Roraima. From now on, their routine will be different. In one of their first meetings with Matheus Neves, the social worker who will be accompanying them in the next three months, they shared their dreams and expectations.
“I want to help my family, not only those who came with me but also those who stayed back in Venezuela,” says Marianny Isolina, 29, who moved to Brasilia with her husband and their three children. “I want to work and study. May we forget the difficult moments and keep with us only the good ones and use them as a learning opportunity to build a better future.”
Alfonzo José, 18, said that he wants to work and help his family, who could not cross the border to Brazil. He moved to Brasilia with his father, Alfonzo de Jesus, who is not currently working but intends to volunteer soon. Two sisters stayed in Venezuela because they had to complete their studies. They live with their mother in the Bolivar state.
“I want to work and help my family find stability. I also think about continuing my studies and doing a specialization in my field,” he says.