On the 18th of February, the Auditorium of the Lisbon Youth Center of the IPDJ, IP welcomed 24 refugees and 26 representatives of socially responsible entities in another initiative promoted by AIDGLOBAL within the scope of the NEAR – NEwly ARrived in a common home project.
The motto that embodied the event’s communication was: Networking for Inclusion – Creating ties and opportunities in the job market, in Portugal, for refugees and asylum seekers. The objective of the meeting was to create a bridge between the public involved and those Portuguese companies with ongoing recruitment processes. It was part of a 40-hour training to support employability to refugees and asylum seekers.
Employability is one of the biggest challenges for anyone arriving in a new country. It primarily occurs when the reason for the migratory movement is sufficiently unexpected to leave no room for prior consideration and preparation to ensure, with the desirable advance, entry into the labour market in the destination country.
The 24 refugees who attended the event have different stories and trajectories. They came from Afghanistan, Syria, Liberia, Ivory Coast, Morocco, the Republic of Cameroon, Sudan, Guinea Conakry, Bangladesh and Iraq. They didn’t bring only baggage with them, but also dreams, projects, memories of people, places and moments that represent their life, plus a cultural identity that needs freedom to express itself.
It was one of the topics addressed in the context of an initiative that started with an Opening Session made by Eduarda Marques, regional Director of Lisbon and Tagus Valley of the Portuguese Institute of Sports and Youth (IPDJ) and the Lisbon Youth Center (CJL) and Susana Damasceno, Founder and President of AIDGLOBAL.
Then, Cátia Sousa, who has been managing the NEAR project since March 2021, briefly presented it, its context, objectives, activities and purpose. Consequently, it was time for the testimonies panel. It has been possible to learn about the stories and projects created and led by Alexander Kpatue Kweh, Coordinator of the Union of Refugees in Portugal (UREP), by Micaela Gomes, Coordinator of the Art & Craft Project at Residências Refúgio and Sayed Najib Rasteen, an Afghan who recently arrived in Portugal and who brought what has been his experience in the process of adapting to a new country and a new culture.
The testimonies presented in this panel illustrated the difficulties that still exist in the integration process of refugees and migrants in Portugal and how it is possible to overcome these difficulties with the support of Organizations and Projects exclusively dedicated to creating responses to this situation.
After the testimonial panel, the event continued with a coffee break where participants were able to create connections, share their CVs and meet potential entities with an essential role in their work journey through the labour market in Portugal.
AIDGLOBAL thanks all the refugees involved in this initiative and those who shared their stories, as well as all the entities (companies, NGOs, Associations) that join us in this mission: welcome and integrate into all dimensions of life and society who recently arrived in Portugal.
Moreover, AIDGLOBAL thanks Delta Cafés and João Nabais & Associados, Sociedade de Advogados, RL, Cepsa, entities that supported this initiative.
“NEAR – NEWLY ARrived in a common home” is a European project financed by the European Commission, within the scope of the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF) with the ISMU Foundation as a promoter and as partner entities Tamat, CARDET,AIDGLOBAL and the Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore. In Portugal, this project is being developed in the city of Lisbon, namely in the Bairro das Galinheiras, located in the Parish of Santa Clara.
AIDGLOBAL ― Action and Integration for Global Development is a non-profit Non-Governmental Organization for Development (NGDO) that develops and promotes projects within the scope of Education for Development and Global Citizenship, in Portugal, and programs within the scope of Literacy in Mozambique. Its Mission aims to Act, Include and Develop through Education, because it believes that Change happens through Education.