Working together to rebuild refugees’ lives in Brazil


Earlier this year, RX (Reed Exhibitions) announced its commitment to donate $ 1 Million, over five years, to non-profit organizations committed to improving racial equity.

Here, we highlight the work of Instituto Adus, one of three Brazilian recipients of our charitable donation, and reveal how RX and Adus have partnered on a new Inclusive Mentoring Program which is creating opportunities for refugees in São Paulo, whilst increasing diversity in RX Brazil.

Instituto Adus (Brazilian Institute for the Reintegration of Refugees), founded in 2010, serves refugees and other victims of forced migration in the city of São Paulo, with the aim of reducing obstacles to their reintegration into society. Every month the Institute helps over 500 refugees from more than 50 countries, including Venezuela, Haiti, Nigeria, Syria, Congo, Palestine, Angola and Colombia. Adus support takes many forms, including Portuguese classes, professional qualification courses and help accessing the job market.

“When we met the Instituto Adus, we quickly saw how closely their values matched our own, and we had no doubt that it would be a great partnership” said Daniela Souza, HR Consultant, RX Brazil. “Guided by the objectives of RX's Global Race Committee, which aims to promote racial equality through educational projects and professionalization, we designed an Inclusive Mentoring Program, providing refugees with the same type of experience we give to our employees.”

“As part of our partnership, Adus is also supporting us in growing RX staff diversity” adds Daniela. “In April we had the honor of welcoming a young Angolan refugee to work with us. He is working alongside our Digital Marketing team, coordinated by Anna Felix, one of the leaders taking part in our Inclusive Mentoring Program.”

In addition to its cash donation to the institution, RX has also donated laptops which, after the pandemic, will be destined for classroom training and income generation projects. In 2021, 200 refugees aged 25-35 years and representing 60 different nationalities underwent training.

The RX & Adus Inclusive Mentoring Program

RX Brazil has run an internal mentoring program since 2019. The purpose of the program is to exchange knowledge, experiences and advice to help develop employees' careers. People leaders are trained to mentor employees from different areas of the organisation, and boost their personal and professional development.

The success of the internal program inspired RX to take the experience of these leaders out of the company, creating our first external mentors initiative. Launched in March, the RX & Adus Inclusive Mentoring Program aims to contribute to the development and employability of refugees or people in a situation of refuge, through virtual mentoring sessions. The sessions, which began in April, will continue over a period of six months, until October 2021.

Preparing the mentors

“The mentoring program is an incredible opportunity to exchange knowledge and experiences, both professional and personal, and this is very valuable to me” said Anna Felix, Digital Marketing Coordinator and Mentor. “I feel very privileged to participate in the program.”

Anna and her fellow RX mentors were invited to register voluntarily for the program. A profile of each refugee was prepared, including information on their individual mentoring needs, so that mentors and mentees could be successfully matched.

Before the mentoring was initiated, the mentors participated in a workshop led by Adus Institute and RX HR. In this workshop, the mentors learned about the role of Adus and the conditions of people in situations of refuge in Brazil. They also joined group activities to discuss cultural differences and learn more about the profiles of refugees who would be mentored.

“My experience at the workshop was incredible. I now have a much broader view of the mentoring process and how to establish and nurture valuable relationships. I've learned that my mentee Ocarl and I both work in the field of agribusiness” said Paulo Montabone, Event Director, Reed Exhibitions Brazil. “We have had the opportunity to interact, exchange experiences and align expectations to enhance Ocarl’s professional profile for the job market in Brazil. I am introducing Ocarl to the sugar-energy sector, which by the way he has fallen in love with. He has already started several studies on the subject! The road ahead is long. It will be six months of hard work, but the pleasure of being in an organisation that cares about others gives me a lot of energy for this challenge! I am grateful to participate in this project. I am already learning so much.”

Selecting the mentees

The Adus Institute selected ten refugees to be mentored by the RX leaders. They are refugees from Cuba, Colombia, Venezuela, Angola, Haiti, and are professionals from different career backgrounds including Information Technology, Engineering, Human Resources and others. Currently all live in the city of São Paulo where RX Brazil’s main office is based.

" Through mentoring I hope to increase my chances of success, develop my skills on a professional and personal level, and strengthen my self-confidence. This will allow me to make a difference to my life and improve my professional abilities, causing a positive impact for others and for myself" said one of the mentees, Henry Estitp Flores, Venezuelan refugee and Mathematics graduate.

The RX HR Team and Instituto Adus are working together to support the needs of the mentors and mentees, and to track the success of this project and other future opportunities that may come out of it.

“This mentoring program was a key driver for the Global Race Committee to select Instituto Adus. It connects strongly with our mission to organize, execute and supervise programs that promote racial equality, supporting individuals and communities in regions where RX operates” said Alinne Rosa RX’s Global Executive Sponsor for Race and GVP Human Resources for the Americas.

“In addition to promoting the exchange of knowledge and experiences between mentors and mentors, which brings development and learning to both, this program will contribute to the refugee's adaptation journey in Brazil, and help them to better understand the country's culture, labor market and social issues” Alinne added. “Mentees will have support they need to prepare themselves to succeed in the Brazilian labour market, restart their lives, and plan for a brighter future.”