Thiago and Eliza, from Brazil, decided to emigrate to Portugal for the second time in February 2014. Aware of the crisis that the country was going through, but supporting each other and with a mixture of fear and excitement, they eventually moved with their four children in November of the same year. "We believed that we could get a job and get on with our lives”.
Without much background information, they were looking for reasonable job opportunities, better education for their children and eventually looking to buy a home in Portugal. Despite the difficulties with the legalization process, and the particularities of a country in crisis, they tried their luck. They thought that since a family member of theirs was already living in Portugal, Eliza's mother, the whole process would be easier.
However, nothing was easy. Neither of them was able to find work, the information they got to enrol the children at school wasn’t correct and they still had to spend a few nights at other people’s homes. In addition, Thiago had an unexpected health problem, which led him to be hospitalized for 20 days.
"We left everything behind, believing we could make it work, but we learned a lot from this situation that we’ve experienced in Portugal. We learnt not to leave our country of origin unless we are certain of our objectives. Also, the stable work and accomplishments we have achieved can never be left behind, believing in something that we think can work, especially with children and putting them to their parents’ mistakes".
On January 20th, they enrolled in the OIM Voluntary Return and Reintegration Support Program, which they knew thanks to the Brazilian Consulate in Oporto, beginning the return process at the Centro Cirilo, one of IOM's partners. They chose to ask for support because they did not have the financial conditions to return to the family and to their relatives, who were waiting for them and supported the return, despite the "failure".
"Today I see that I made a mistake and thank God that we were able to return thanks to IOM's support, because if it were not like this, we would not be able to return all together, but gradually," says Thiago.
Thiago and his family returned to Brazil in mid-April.
The news we received were good: they have already started successfully giving a new direction to their lives and their children are already in school. They never ceased to be together and so today they feel hopeful in what the future holds.
The São Cirilo Center, which together with IOM accompanied this case, is an insertion community created by the Jesuitas in Oporto that welcomes and re- enables foreign and native people to spend there some time if they are socially fragile. The São Cirilo Center has been collaborated with IOM since 2009, as part of the Information and Counseling Network. .