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January 16, 2024

AVSI Brasil offers pathways to integration and development for Venezuelan migrants

Brazil

   January 16, 2024 // Written by Colin Murphy

In early December, AVSI Brasil held three public events to disseminate the results of an external evaluation of the Welcomed Through Work project. The evaluation found that the project has provided tremendous value to Venezuelans in Brazil and the Brazilian government’s integration program.

The project

 

In Welcomed Through Work, AVSI connects Venezuelans living in shelters in Roraima in northern Brazil with Brazilian companies hiring for formal, permanent positions. Once a migrant is employed, AVSI works with the federal government to facilitate their transportation, along with that of their family, to the city where they will work. Upon arrival, AVSI provides three months of housing and social assistance and works with the hiring company and the local government to ensure the family receives the proper social services.

 

 

This innovative, multisectoral project is implemented with AVSI Foundation and financed by the US Department of State Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration (PRM). The evaluation analyzed the project’s results over the last three-plus years (late 2019 to early 2023). The events brought together representatives of the Brazilian Federal Government, partner institutions, and international organizations to discuss how to scale up and replicate the project in other migration and refugee contexts.

The findings

 

From 2019 to this year, Welcomed Through Work facilitated the voluntary relocation of 3,360 Venezuelan refugees and migrants out of shelters and into permanent housing in receiving communities. Of these, 1,329 individuals were integrated with formal employment. There were 147 total relocation processes with 86 different private company partners. According to the research done by the company Pólis Pesquisa, there were dramatic socio-economic differences for families post-relocation. The average monthly income of families in shelters in Roraima was 621 reais, while the average monthly income for voluntarily relocated families was 3,212 – a 417% increase. Relocated families were eight times more likely than sheltered families to have achieved financial self-sufficiency.

 

Additionally, children in relocated families were far more likely to be enrolled in school. 53% of children 4-5 years old in relocated families attended pre-school. In families awaiting relocation, this number is only 3%.

The events

 

The public events were an opportunity to showcase these encouraging findings, thank the people who made them possible, and encourage the scale-up of the efforts. Salvador hosted the first event on November 30 with the University of Salvador (UNIFACS). In Brasilia, the event took place in partnership with the National Confederation of Catholic Bishops of Brazil (CNBB), which also works on social projects and provides the land and the building for AVSI’s Good Samaritan House Reception Center. Finally, on December 12, the last seminar was held in Boa Vista, the first city Venezuelans see when crossing the northern border into Brazil.

 

Partners from organizations of all sectors and sizes attended the events. Notable organizations include The Brazilian federal government, the Operation Welcome task force, UNHCR, IOM, The Institute of Migration and Human Rights, The Conference of Brazilian Bishops, Unifacs, and AVSI Brasil.

The bottom line

 

These events demonstrated in tangible data the encouraging results born from the hard work of all of these partners to provide viable pathways to integration for migrants and refugees in Brazil. More than numbers, we can see individuals empowered to take ownership of their development and their families to build a new life in a new country. As the wave of migration continues to move across the continent and more people choose to come to Brazil, AVSI’s work to accompany people and bring together actors from all parts of society will be even more important.