Besides all the challenges that they need to face as refugees in a foreign country, needing to learn a language different from their own is yet another stage to be overcome.
Many Venezuelan refugees have graduated and are professionally qualified. Such is the case of the lawyer Maria de Lourdes, attended the classes in the shelter. She knows that to learn Portuguese will be important in this new phase of her life. “I need the language, because now Portuguese is my second tongue,” she affirms.
But the objective of the classes is not only to teach the Portuguese language per se. The mission of the project is also to create favorable conditions so that the students can visualize new possibilities. “Together, with the class, we also convey a perspective of hope,” says Friar Thomas, a missionary monk responsible for the initiative.
The course will be able to help refugees during the process of assimilation within the Shelter Operation, which involves institutions such as the FIHF. The program, begun in April of 2018, has already helped almost five thousand Venezuelans who were sent on to 17 Brazilian States. The immigrants are pointed toward opportunities for work in basic conditions so that they may begin their lives anew with dignity.
“To leave Venezuela was very difficult. But what is important is that we are here and we will get up, open our eyes, and continue forward with strength and faith,” hopefully affirms Hendrick José, who is also learning Portuguese.
The classes took place twice a week in the shelters of Tancredo Neves and Nova Canaã, which are two of the five shelters administered in Roraima by Fraternidade – International Humanitarian Federation. At least 30 people have already benefited from the project in the months of June and July of this year.