Migrants breaking barriers through “Integrados”, the socioeconomic integration project

AVSI in partnership with COOPI for “Integrados”, the project that supports the socioeconomic integration of migrants in Ecuador through professional training and job research

Countries Ecuador
Date 07.08.2023
Author Daniela Montalvo, Communication Officer-COOPI and Daniela Ibarra, Communication Officer-AVSI

Socioeconomic integration of migrants in Ecuador is an important and complex issue that has undergone significant changes in recent years. One of the main obstacles is access to decent employment due to labor discrimination faced by many migrants, who are often relegated to informal, poorly paid, and socially unprotected jobs.

AVSI, in partnership with Cooperazione Internazionale (COOPI), has been promoting inclusion through Integrados a project funded by U.S. Department of State  Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration. Barriers still persist in accessing decent employment, trainings and workshops provided by our program grant Venezuelans and other migrants tools to integrate into the workforce through self-employment, allowing them to meet their basic needs.

People involved in the project Integrados in Ecuador
From left to right: Emilia Betancourt , Livelihoods Officer Coopi - Belén Ramos, Country Coordinator Coopi - Mileidy Capurro, Project Manager AVSI - Alexander Guamán, Coopi staff - Vinicio Guamba, Avsi staff.

Trainings include the development of theorical and practical skills in baking sewing and tailoring, makeup and cooking classes, cell phone and air conditioning repair.
AVSI and COOPI support the participants throughout the entire process by providing meals, transportation, childcare services, rent, and home goods to facilitate their integration into the local communities. Thanks to this comprehensive approach, in the past three years we have seen incredible results.

Yosef’s success story

Yosef José Álvarez is a 21-year-old man from Venezuela who recently arrived in Ecuador and attended a makeup course. As he signed up for our activities, he admitted that he never had much trust in the humanitarian organizations that had offered support. "To be honest, they told me they could help me, but I never believed it. I migrated with my family without any support. I thought they would discriminate me, and I was ashamed to ask for help." However, when he heard about Integrados and its makeup course he decided to take a chance. "My sisters are passionate about makeup. They haven’t opened their own business yet, I was thinking I could gain skills in this field and help them once they do " he said. He also mentioned that he had a very positive impression of both organizations, who welcomed and supported him as much as they could, without him ever feeling discriminated which was very important to him.

It's graduation time!

This summer, our third cohort has come to an end.
After completing the training, the 110 participants of the "Entrepreneurship & Practical Skills" program celebrated their graduation.
During this event, the graduates received a certificate endorsed by COOPI, FUNDER, and the Center for Knowledge Transfer and Social Innovation (CETCIS) of the Pontifical Catholic University of Quito (PUCE).
For many participants, trainings provided by AVSI and COOPI were a source of good memories and are now more confident that one day they will be able to integrate in Ecuador and be financially independent. In addition, it has been an opportunity that allowed them to explore areas they never thought they would develop in.

Ceremony of young migrants in Ecuador, involved in Integrados project
Graduation ceremony of young migrants involved in Integrados project.

For Yarinet Herrera, the bakery and pastry course she completed has opened a door she never thought could open. In my neighborhood, people always ask me if I can make pizza because there used to be a pizzeria they really liked" says Yarinet

This motivated her to take the practical skills course to learn how to make pizza and start her own pizzeria. For her, this is a whole new world. She states that in Venezuela, she worked in accounting and never saw herself in the kitchen.

It's something new, but it's an opportunity to improve my income, and the best part is that I really enjoyed it, and I'm leaving this training very happy and grateful


Indeed, new development opportunities have risen for many graduates after the end of the program. On June 20th, some of the attended fairs around the country held by the Workgroup for Refugees and Migrants in occasion of the International Refugee’s Day. Here, they had the opportunity to grow their business, by show casing and selling their products, and network

Through its projects, AVSI stands committed to promote a more inclusive and integrated society and help migrants break socioeconomic barriers. Stay tuned for more success stories!