IOM Provides Support to Venezuelans in Brazil
São Paulo – The International Organization for Migration (IOM) this week (20 May) provided food assistance to Venezuelan refugees and migrants in Brazil's south-eastern region. Most of the Venezuelans who received the aid live in a temporary shelter in the city, part of Brazil’s Relocation Strategy known as Operação Acolhida, which is supported by IOM along with other UN agencies, partners, and civil society organizations.
More than 3.7 million Venezuelans have left their country since 2015, according to the latest information consolidated by the Regional Interagency Coordination Platform. The Brazilian Federal Police estimates that around 150,000 of them are currently living in Brazil.
The relocation strategy has been implemented to support migrants and asylum seekers arriving in the Northern Brazilian state of Roraima, offering better opportunities for integration.
The strategy, carried out since April 2018, integrates four forms of support: labour relocation, family reunification, temporary shelter, and the support of civil society partners that provide accommodation throughout the country. Over the past 12 months, the programme has relocated more than 5,800 Venezuelans from Roraima to 17 Brazilian states.
Supported by the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF), both Cáritas Brasileira and IOM implemented a food security and temporary housing project in 12 municipalities in Roraima, reaching more than 3,700 vulnerable Venezuelans.
“We are very grateful to count on IOM as a great partner in this mission to ensure the basic right of access to food. Working together strengthens us,” said Deyse Brumatti from Cáritas Brasileira.
São Paulo is one of places where the strategy is being implemented. Some 800 Venezuelans have benefited, with another 100 more migrants and asylum seekers arriving in the city in coming days. Another programme – Cáritas Brasileira’s Pana Project – also provides social assistance, legal and labour support to the Venezuelans relocating in the city.
Temporary shelter also is provided as part of the relocation while more permanent solutions are being sought. Venezuelans living in such shelters have received food provided by IOM as part of Operação Acolhida programme. Besides the beneficiaries here, another 270 individuals have benefited in the cities of Porto Velho (Rondônia State) and Palhoça (Santa Catarina State).
“Since the beginning of the migratory flows, access to food is one of the main demands of Venezuelan families arriving in Brazil. These activities allow us to meet this need and minimize their vulnerable situation,” explained Yssyssay Rodrigues, IOM Brazil Project Coordinator.
This activity in São Paulo was possible with the financial support of the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM) of the United States Department of State.
Boa Vista – This month, 400 Venezuelans received professional training in the northern cities of Boa Vista and Pacaraima, State of Roraima, Brazil as part of IOM’s support to Venezuelans seeking assistance launching microenterprises in some 80 self-generated entrepreneurship projects.
IOM´s Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM), deployed to support the Brazilian Government and partners with information on most pressing needs, notes that most Venezuelans located in the state of Roraima live in precarious conditions, often in situations of vulnerability. They are characterized as populations that have not continued higher education and are currently facing difficulties to access formal employment.
IOM´s integration support programme aims to address and improve these conditions to reduce vulnerabilities. To this end, this initiative focuses in improving Venezuelan migrants and refugees’ self-reliance skills through a series of courses and training workshops in basic Portuguese, entrepreneurship, income generation and professional training.
Hotel work, gastronomy, child and elderly care, hairstyling and basic business management are among the skills being taught. Entrepreneurship workshops offer participants opportunities to learn how to design a business plan, to calculate costs and plan profit margins.
Eighty of the participants with projects deemed worthy of start-up capital received financial support from IOM for the purchase of equipment and materials.
“Strengthening the skills of migrants facilitates their integration and contributes to local economic development. Those trainings are also opportunities that facilitate better social cohesion,” said Stéphane Rostiaux, IOM Brazil Chief of Mission. “The success of the initiative could be replicated in other cities which are receiving Venezuelans through the Voluntary Relocation Strategy, such as São Paulo. We believe this will enable more Venezuelans to benefit from the process,” Rostiaux added.
Carlos, a participant of the entrepreneurship workshop and now Creative Director at Overlay Special Events, a company in Boa Vista, Roraima also stated: “Thanks to the trainings, nowadays I work with publicity and special events. I also inform other migrants who arrive with doubts and questions about the labour market, the culture, and the situation of the country.”
These activities were made possible with the financial support of the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM) of the United States Department of State and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands, in partnership with the Brazilian National Learning Service (SENAC, in Portuguese) and World Vision.