Priscilla is Brazilian, currently living in London, and working for the Climate Policy Initiative, an organisation that tackles climate change by fostering economic development. She manages a project focused on climate finance to cities. Priscilla herself is quite an urban person, growing up in São Paulo, the major urban hub at the heart of Latin American, a vibrant yet a place full of challenges and different cultures. This experience made Priscilla realise how integrating oneself into the city you live in, and its surroundings, has such an impact on several aspects of people’s lives.
What is your favourite thing about Community Sponsorship?
I have lived in different countries (Brazil, France, Uruguay, and now the UK) and my understanding of the people and culture of these countries, its languages and customs has been both the hardest yet most rewarding part of my own integration into different cultures.
It was the hardest part because often, understanding cultures that are so alien to us, takes real effort as you have to decode those all-so-important unwritten codes that allow us to build meaningful connections to others. But it’s also so rewarding when we are finally able to do so! I love the fact that our Community Sponsorship is a group of very open-minded and sympathetic people, that want to help vulnerable families to integrate in the UK society and assist them to restart their lives.
How much did you know about the refugee situation before joining? And have any of your views changed?
Brazil, the country I am from, is a place of immigrants who were often seeking refuge from war, political instabilities or seeking economic opportunities. The country in fact has a very large, wealthy and influential Syrian community that came to Brazil at the beginning of the century. Throughout my life, I myself have been in close contact with many Brazilians with strong roots in the region – and who have been touched by many of the unfortunate consequences of war.
My degree in Political Science and International Affairs certainly allowed me to gain more understanding about the situation of refugees, and particularly after the start of the Syrian war. Within Community Sponsorship, I realised how hard it is for a refugee family to be moved to a new country, and all these hurdles have become more real to me.
What would be your one tip to a refugee family starting their new life in the UK?
As a foreigner myself, the main tip I could give is for the family to be patient with others and with themselves. Integrating into another universe, with different social and political rules takes time, but it is very rewarding, if we have patience to understand the others around us.
If you could tell people one thing about community sponsorship, what would it be?
That community sponsorship is a great way to meet people and make sure that people who really would appreciate some help are properly welcomed in the UK. Definitely worth joining.
You can support us to resettle a refugee family and help them to build a new and sustainable life by donating to our Just Giving page