More than 1,200 children and adolescents from Venezuela receive support for school enrollment in the Brazilian state of Roraima

Community services supports families in the pre-enrollment of children and adolescents in shelters and informal settlements in Boa Vista, the capital of Roraima. The initiative is underway in the city of Pacaraima.

02 March 2023
Foto mostra uma mulher segurando um menino pequeno no colo. Ao lado dela há duas meninas. Os quatro estão olhando para a câmera e sorrindo.
UNICEF/BRZ/Amanda Panarini
Zuleima Cabello, 32, is happy that her eldest daughter, Abnelys, 10, is going to school for the first time. The mother had the support of the collective effort to ensure her daughters’ enrollment.

Boa Vista, March 2, 2023 – Education is a right for every child, every teenager, no matter where they come from or where they were born. To help refugee and migrant families living in Roraima to enter formal education in Brazil, the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), in partnership with the Pirilampos Institute and AVSI Brazil, and coordinated by the public education network, promoted a joint effort that has resulted, to date, in 1,244 children and adolescents from Venezuela that received help with the enrollment process in municipal and state schools.

This joint effort is part of the “Out of School, No way!” (Fora da Escola Não Pode in Portuguese) campaign. It was promoted in January 2023 in all humanitarian shelters for refugees and migrants in Boa Vista, at the Reception and Support Post (Posto de Recepção e Apoio in Portuguese) and in informal settlements, with the support of the UN Agency for Refugees (UNHCR), the UN Agency for Migration (IOM), the Humanitarian Logistics Task Force of the Welcome Operation and the Federal Subcommittee on Reception and Relocation.

Among the children and adolescents, 655 were supported in the shelters of the Welcome Operation in Boa Vista. Out of these, 252 are still waiting for a vacancy and have their processes monitored by the team.

The campaign is now underway in the city of Pacaraima on the border with Venezuela.

“Refugee and migrant children and adolescents, as well as their families, face many challenges in order to study and not drop out of school – the first of which is the enrollment process. Our support is to, along with partners, remove these barriers to ensure that the right to education is guaranteed to all boys and girls, no matter where they come from”, says the head of the UNICEF Office in Roraima, Maria Estela Caparelli.

Since December, 2022, the teams of community service have been distributing informational materials and organizing information sessions for families in the shelters. The teams carried out the pre-enrollment in municipal and state schools through phone calls and subsequent referral for the classification exams, in addition to ensuring, a photo session for the children and teenagers’ school documents.

Zuleima Cabello, of the Warao indigenous people, left Venezuela two years ago with her three children: Abnelys, 10, Willianny, 6, and Rodrigo, 2. Zuleima, who is five months pregnant, is thrilled to have enrolled her two eldest daughters at school – little Rodrigo is waiting for a place at daycare. “It was a long process to enroll Abnelys in school because she had never studied in Venezuela. But now it will begin”, says Zuleima. “I have never studied, so I feel very happy that my children are making this dream come true for me”, says Zuleima.

The Pirilampos Institute was in the field throughout the entire campaign to ensure that all boys and girls from Venezuela did not fall back in the access to Education. “Our role was to facilitate these families access to information and provide the direct support they need in relation to the documents and procedures to guarantee their children’s right, which is to be in school”, says the president of the Institute, Mariann Mesquita.

The joint action in shelters is part of a strategy called Active School Search (see below) and was accomplished within the scope of the Super Panas Spaces (a Spanish expression that can be translated as Super Friends), a project that offers non-formal education and psychosocial support activities for refugee and migrant children and adolescents from Venezuela. The project has the support of The European Commission’s Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection (ECHO) and the United States’ Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration of the Department of State (PRM).

UNICEF and its partners, in coordination with the public education network, will continue to monitor the cases that were assisted to ensure that families can effectively complete the admission and that these children and adolescents are in fact in school.

About Active School Search

Active School Search is a strategy in collaboration with municipal and state governments to make sure no children are out of school. The program is present in more than three thousand municipalities and 20 states in the country. It was developed by UNICEF and the National Union of Municipal Education Directors (UNDIME), with the support of the National Collegiate of Municipal Social Assistance Managers (CONGEMAS) and the National Council of Municipal Health Secretariats (CONASEM). The objective is to support governments in identifying, registering, controlling and monitoring children and adolescents who are out of school or at risk of dropping out, so that every girl and boy can continue learning and have a path to academic success. Find out more at: https://buscaativaescolar.org.br/

Media contacts

Marco Prates
Communication/SBC in Emergencies
UNICEF Brazil
Tel: (61) 99695 0123

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