To recognize the challenging work with Venezuelan refugees entering and resettling in the country, the Brazilian Government awarded AVSI the “Amigo da Acolhida” (“Friend of Welcome”). The award was created to thank all partners involved in Operation Welcome, an initiative to operationalize the emergency assistance to receive migrants from Venezuela, who are in vulnerable situations, in Brazil. AVSI has been working in the North-eastern State of Roraima for a year, managing shelters that receive and assist hundreds of Venezuelans arriving daily to escape the humanitarian crisis in their country.
I believe it was a fair tribute to agencies and organizations that are part of Operation Welcome and to all the people who dedicate themselves daily to Venezuelan refugees. I’m very honored and proud to receive this award on behalf of AVSI, which has an important role here.
The award ceremony took place on Saturday, March 23, inside the Palace of Culture Nenê Macaggi, located in the Civic Center of Boa Vista.
At the ceremony, the Roraima Governor, Antônio Denarium, the Mayor of Boa Vista, Teresa Surita, heads of UN agencies, partner agencies, and civil and military authorities were also present. In addition to AVSI, other partners received the award.
Operation Welcome has been ongoing since March 2018. AVSI has also been an implementing partner of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNCHR) since June 2018. Through these two initiatives, AVSI has managed shelters, worked in partnership with other actors involved in the activities of the tents, strengthened committees and subgroups’ participation, and ensured fair distribution of food and other articles, among other activities.
We have many challenges here, but they have been routinely overcome or at least circumvented. We work with several other partners to give dignity to those refugees who, at the moment, are very vulnerable.
Currently, AVSI manages four humanitarian shelters in Boa Vista, working with 32 professionals and 12 trainees, and benefiting about 2,800 Venezuelan refugees.
Integration Through Work
In addition to managing shelters in Roraima, AVSI took on the major challenge of helping integrate Venezuelans in Brazil. AVSI first provides help to Venezuelans upon their arrival at the reception centers. Then, offers families interested in staying in Brazil a package of support to integrate in different cities of Brazil for four months through the activity “Integration through Work”.
As part of “Integration through Work” and thanks to a partnership with local businesses, AVSI offers job opportunities for Venezuelan refugees. The welcoming package also includes furnished apartments, food, and personal hygiene products, Portuguese language courses, healthcare, and psychosocial support.