There are over 8,000 refugees in Brazil. And almost 28,000 who are here
requesting asylum. They're people like you, who have a career, a family,
and many dreams. But they have to start over in a place where they know
practically no one. And since Christmas is a time for people to come together,
we would like to bring you closer to these people. Here you will learn about
a few of these thousands of stories. Maybe you'll even find a special guest
to invite to your home for Christmas?

Temitope Olusola

She came to Brazil alone except for her son Isaac, who was still in her belly. Temi wants to prepare a Moimoi to take to Christmas meal. It’s like a steamed beans pudding from Nigeria.

Meet Temi
Mazen & Yazan

He was a Palestinian refugee in Syria. Now he's a refugee in Brazil. Mazen cooks everything from the Middle East and is still thinking what to prepare to this Christmas.

Meet Mazen
Alphonse

He has two college degrees, speaks five languages, and his mission is to help other refugees. Alphonse says it’s hard to find the right ingredients to make a traditional dish, but he’ll try hard this Christmas.

Meet Alphonse
Bouteina

She ran away from Casablanca because she is a woman. Now she's beginning a new life in São Paulo. Bouteina thinks there is nothing better than the traditional baked kibbeh to prepare for this kind of occasion.

Meet Bouteina
Olga Yavo

She's been here for three years. She studies Physical Therapy in the mornings and teaches language classes at night. For this Christmas, Olga is thinking about preparing a dish from the Ivory Coast made of bananas.

Meet Olga
Muna Darweesh

She has lived in Brazil for three years. She found a way to make a living with the culinary skills she learned from her family. Muna will prepare traditional starters as humus and babaganoush for the Christmas meal.

Meet Muna
Jose Alejandro

After living in São Paulo for three years, he has been using music to bridge the cultural gap with Brazilians. Alejandro will prepare the famous arepas for Christmas.

Meet Alejandro
Talal Al Tinawi

To support his children here in Brazil, he discovered his talent for cooking. Talal says he wants to prepare a traditional tabouleh salad and the traditional sfihas.

Meet Talal
Ermildo Panzo

He's a student and a poet, and in São Paulo he found a way to expand his artistic talent. For the Christmas, Ermi will bring the Calulu, a mixture of fish and vegetables.

Meet Ermi
Leon Diab

He was born in a refugee camp and only much later did he learn what it meant to be a refugee. Leon will make a dish called maktuba, a kind of Arabian paella.

Meet Leon
Anjila Fares

In the morning, she goes to school. In the afternoon, she works to help out at home. She has been living in São Paulo for just nine months, and already has good command of the language. Anjila and her mom will prepare sfihas and other typical Arabian starters.

Meet Anjila
Jose Angel

He teaches English and Art, and he wants to organize an art exhibit. José says he’s not very good in cooking but he has many stories to share his culture instead.

Meet José
Jair Rojas

He is a talented cook. He makes arepas and other delicacies in his two food trucks. Jair says he will take a female suckling pig to the meal. It‘s traditional during holidays in Colombia.

Meet Jair
Luis Escalante

He is a Science-Po teacher and dreams about continuing teaching in Brazil. He we’ll cook Hojuelas for Christmas, a typical desert during holidays in Colombia.

Meet Luis
Abdou Secka

He used to play soccer in a Third Division Team in Africa and, now, dreams about becoming a player in the famous Brazilian team Flamengo. For Christmas, he’ll cook a Thieboudienne, dish made from rice, fish and vegetables.

Meet Abdou
Mohammed El Jazouli

He has an International Business Degree, but his passion it photography. He will prepare a delicious Marroquin salad to the Christmas meal.

Meet Mohammed
Temitope Olusola
Mazen & Yazan
Alphonse
Bouteina
Olga Yavo
Muna Darweesh
Jose Alejandro
Talal Al Tinawi
Ermildo Panzo
Leon Diab
Anjila Fares
Jose Angel
Jair Rojas
Luis Escalante
Abdou Secka
Mohammed El Jazouli

My Refugee Friend is a project headed by Migraflix, a social organization
that promotes the integration of refugees and immigrants by having
them carry out workshops and activities for Brazilians. Migraflix strives
to help refugees integrate socially and economically through the sharing
of their own cultures. Our team believes that every culture is rich
in its own way and that the sharing of experiences between individuals
is an important tool for transforming society.
To learn about all our activities and participate, click here.

back to top