Exhibition evokes memories of home in Syria

‘At Home, in Brazil’ portrays a UNHCR humanitarian emergency housing unit and features testimonials by refugees from different countries, including Syria, about what their homes used to be like and how they’re living in Brazil.

From the Newsroom

São Paulo – Interactive exhibit “Em Casa, no Brasil” (At Home, In Brazil), by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is open and free of charge at Sesc Piracicaba, in Piracicaba, São Paulo, up until March 8. Visitors can see a refugee camp housing unit and check out testimonials by thirteen refugees, from nine different countries, who found a new home in Brazil.

The expatriates reminisce on their former homes in Syria, Venezuela, Cuba, Colombia, Afghanistan, Iran, Mozambique, Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. They speak out on their life stories and memories and explain why they feel at home in Brazil.

Words like peace, safety, prosperity and freedom are recurrent, but each story has its own set of moving and unique cultural features. The event is moderated by migrants and refugees based in Piracicaba.

Syria’s Mohamed Alsaheb is one of the featured persons. He left his native Damascus, Syria nine years ago and lived in Dubai and Lebanon before relocating to São Paulo five years ago, where he teaches Arabic lessons. Although he misses his home country, he feels at home in downtown São Paulo, with the urban landscape, the city noise and the heavy traffic of people. You can listen to his testimonial here.

The Refugee Housing Unit (RHU) on show is employed by the UNHCR in humanitarian emergency contexts. It’s a sustainable, long-lasting standalone shelter created in collaboration by the UNHCR, the Better Shelter company and the IKEA Foundation. Pictured above is Nigerian refugee in her housing unit.

RHUs are an innovative shelter solution built from light steel, equipped with solar power and a new anchoring system, and adaptable to different climates.

RHUs in a temporary shelter area in Boa Vista, Roraima

Each RHU is designed to house five people (in observance of the international standard, which is 3.5 sqm per person). Some 600 units are currently present in six temporary shelters managed by the UNHCR and partner organizations in Boa Vista, Roraima.

The exhibit is touring across Brazil. It has been to São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro since June 2019 to mark World Refugee Day, celebrated on June 20. It’s a production of the UNHCR with Estou Refugiado, an organization which works for refugee employability in Brazil, and it relies on institutional support from SESC.

The show opened on January 14 and ends on Sunday (8). It’s open from Tuesday to Friday, 1:30pm to 9:30pm, and on Saturday and Sunday, from 9:30am to 5:45pm at the SESC’s Plaza. Admission is free. The address for SESC Piracicaba is Rua Ipiranga, 155 – Downtown.

Quick facts

Exhibition: ‘Em Casa, no Brasil’
Tuesday to Friday, 1:30pm to 9:30pm
Saturday and Sunday, from 9:30am to 5:45pm
SESC Piracicaba – Plaza
Rua Ipiranga, 155, Downtown
Piracicaba – São Paulo
Free of charge

Translated by Gabriel Pomerancblum

UNHCR/Ibrahim Abdou
UNHCR/Reynesson Damasceno

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