Best Projects 2019 features all the nominated entries submitted ‘Submit your Project’ category. All the entries consist of innovative projects run by existing enterprises in the form of businesses, NGOs or informal programs.
Commission on Refugees and Immigrants’ Rights
Explain your project in details:
Due to a political and economic crisis Venezuela is going through, thousands of people are seeking refuge in Brazil as a way to survive. Unfortunately, many are being victims of xenophobia, racism and labor exploitation. I wanted to change that reality and last year I developed my own human rights project - 18 lawyers including me who have become central actors in the pursuit of sustainable and lasting peace. After some time, I realized that it is not enough to defend and promote human rights, peace and economic growth. We also need to encourage other young people to follow the same path, otherwise it will be difficult to keep our country on an upward trajectory. Currently we are helping people from Venezuela, Cuba, Haiti, Colombia and Arabia. In 9 months, we helped more than 450 families - we donate clothes, toys and non-perishable food. We provide free legal assistance in matters regard to immigration law, civil and labor rights, and refugee procedure. One of our biggest concerns is to integrate them into labor market - we help them with document issuing and diploma revalidation, to allow them to exercise their profession here. We offer free Portuguese courses and give them free lectures about Brazilian legislation to clear their doubts and give them access to information. In August, we will be offering free professional training courses. We are working daily to ensure their social, educational and labor inclusion. We need to make sure refugee children and young people do not lose access to school because of the conflict in their home country; we need to assure their parents can work decently and provide them good quality of life.
Impact of your enterprise on sustainable development
So far we have partnered with many important agencies, organizations and entities, such as the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the government, the city hall, universities and schools (public and private), churches, law firms, non-governmental organizations and volunteers from civil society. All these partnerships intensified good results in the search for a more sustainable and strengthened society. Lately we have been having a constant agenda of interviews in radios and newspappers to talk about our activities and how we are dealing with the massive arrival of Venezuelans. Recently I applied this project and was selected to represent Brazil as delegate in the 24th session of the Youth Assembly, held by the Friendship Ambassadors Foundation with the support of the United Nations, in Washington, D.C., USA. As a result of our good performance and this international achievement, I received a Motion of Congratulation, which was presented at the Legislative Assembly of Amazonas, by the state representative Alessandra Campelo. Also, we were invited to receive a Certificate of Honor due to the activities developed by the Commission on Refugees and Immigrants Rights, which was presented at the City Council by the councilor Dante Souza. And we still have so much to conquer, so many people to help!
Sustainability and future plans
One of my future plans to the Commission is directly related to education, work, awareness campaigns and the dissemination of relevant information to refugees and immigrants survival in Brazil. The tool that I would use to give life to this project would be the creation of a website with informative content about their rights. I want to create a primer containing the step-by-step process of diploma revalidation, given that many of them do not know how to proceed or even know it is possible to practice their professions here. The website would also contain information about shelters addresses for refugees, employment opportunities, free professional training courses offered by us or by partner companies. I want to create a platform to offer free Portuguese classes online, because I know many do not have money to go to presential lessons, but they do have access to the internet. I also want to create a space where they can upload their résumés - the idea is for us to have a database, in this way, we will be able to find employment opportunities that fits better with each person. Finally, I want to create two areas: I) where refugees and immigrants can ask for free legal advices; II) where lawyers can volunteer to assist them. My intention is to reach out to a larger number of refugees and immigrants, to facilitate their access to basic rights such as education, information and decent work. Also, I want to inspire and encourage young people from all over the country (or even the world) to implement initiatives to promote peace and human development to vulnerable people.
Your profile as an entrepreneur
I am Raquely, a 23-year-old lawyer, who lives in the heart of the Amazon, in Brazil. I have always been fascinated about Human Rights - which motivated my decision to study law. Throughout college, I comprehended my passion went far beyond reading legal books and writing scientific articles. My biggest motivation to continue on this path was the idea of defending vulnerable peoples rights, helping people to rebuild their lives, or simply the possibility of doing justice in the world. Last year, I founded the Commission on Refugees and Immigrants Rights alongside with a colleague, aiming to save these people from living in degrading ways. However, in the end, they were the ones who saved me. I found my purpose and cannot imagine my life without fighting for their rights daily. This is what motivates me and gives me hope for better days. I consider myself as a social entrepreneur because this is exactly what it is about: observing the suffering of a segment of humanity and finding inspiration in this situation to act directly, using creativity, courage and strength, to create a new scenario that brings permanent benefits to this group of people and consequently to all society. In my conception, entrepreneurship, innovation and social value means a triad that needs to work together, it results in economic, social and even cultural development of a country. What differentiates an ordinary entrepreneur from a social entrepreneur is the objective and motivation: the first, aims at profit; the second, altruism. Although social entrepreneur can profit, it is important to point out that whenever there is a proposition of social value, the return goes far beyond money. The reward is in a smile, a hug of gratitude... in the idea that you have contributed to a better world.