LOCAL people – along with refugees and migrants – have gained a new safe space in the state of Roraima, Brazil. The Centre for Coexistence and Psychosocial Care, which opened on 18 January 2019, is an initiative linked to The Salvation Army’s Bridges Project in state capital Boa Vista. It is being run in partnership with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), with funding provided by the European Union (EU). Services are provided for those who have suffered gender-based violence, with a particular focus on women, young people, disabled people and members of the LGBTI community.
The centre’s service provision is part of the multi-agency response to the large-scale migration of Venezuelan nationals into the area since July 2018. Among the services that will now be available are social and psychological assistance, legal counselling, therapeutic and life skills workshops, and socio-educational activities. These services to the community will be carried out by professionals with specific training in each area, from Monday to Friday.
Centre staff can also help with registration processes, sheltering of the most vulnerable groups, providing access to information and taking any other necessary action to support and care for children and victims of gender violence.
The Salvation Army’s Major Philippa Chagas says of the launch: ‘This is a much-needed provision in Boa Vista, which is still receiving migrants from Venezuela, some of whom have experienced great trauma. The Salvation Army is pleased to work with our colleagues from UNFPA and UNHCR on this important initiative, using our skills, building on links we have made in this transient community and sharing our passion for serving a suffering humanity.’
The partnership between UN agencies, civil society, local governments and the EU aims to not only extend the protection of refugees and migrants, but also to ensure peaceful integration and coexistence with the local population. Services can be accessed by all, regardless of nationality, age, gender or sexuality.
From a report by Marcela Ulhoa, UNFPA Coordinator in Roraima
Issued by IHQ Communications, The Salvation Army International Headquarters