The UN refugee agency (UNHCR) said São Paulo, a city of 12 million, was the first city in Brazil to pass a municipal law ensuring refugees and migrants access to social rights and public services, and promoting respect for diversity and multiculturalism.
The municipality of São Paulo has set up several Portuguese classes for refugees and migrants with educational material available online. The classes are free and take place in municipal public schools, in areas where refugees and migrants are living.
The city has also established more than 264 vacancies at public shelters to help with the relocation programme for Venezuelans. The programme is run by the government with the support of UNHCR and other UN agencies. These shelters help integration efforts since they are connected with public services provided by the municipality.
Johnny used to run a construction company in Venezuela employing 20 people. Until 2011-2012 things were going pretty well. By 2014, due to insecurity and violence, lack of access to food, medicine and essential services, he came to Brazil with his son and son-in-law.
UNHCR said the São Paulo municipal programme, Trabalho Novo, provides support for refugees living in their shelters.
There are also computer and language classes and the refugees are connected to job offers.
The programme has helped over 100 Venezuelans find work. Johnny was hired by Doxs, a logistics company. The company is supportive.
UNHCR said São Paulo is an example of how cities can welcome newcomers into its communities, promoting and creating economic, civic and social growth ~UNHCR