Migraflix: Where Refugees and Immigrants Become Cultural Ambassadors

By bringing together locals and foreigners through intercultural exchange, Migraflix is helping to flip the typical immigrant paradigm on its head. Rather than being seen as foreigners in need of help from their new country, instead they become entrepreneurs, enriching their new communities with their own unique skills.

Author Julian Furtkamp:

Translation Julian Furtkamp, 06.20.17

Operating under the motto “live the world from within your city”, the Brazilian online platform Migraflix connects locals with immigrants and refugees in their city who offer a range of different courses and workshops – informed by their own different cultural backgrounds. Offers include courses in Argentine tango, Colombian cumbia, Arabic calligraphy and Syrian, Moroccan and Bolivian cooking.

Entrepreneurs for dialogue and understanding

Migraflix encourages foreigners living in Brazil to set up businesses based on their special skills, while the organisation is responsible for marketing the courses and connecting teachers with potential pupils. The main focus is on contacting companies and schools – with the idea that employees or students won’t just be able to learn a valuable new skill, but also broaden their horizons and develop their teamwork skills.

The people who implement the workshops keep 80 per cent of the profits, while the rest goes towards running the platform. And every workshop is about much more than just learning a new skill – the dialogue that it creates between people of different cultures is a great way to help to promote intercultural relations and understanding too. By hearing the foreign teachers who run the classes tell their students about the reasons for their coming to Brazil and what life was like for them in their home countries, participants can learn first hand what it’s like for new arrivals to find their feet in Brazilian society.

Migraflix: coming to a city near you?

And it’s already going strong: Migraflix is currently collaborating with 70 refugees and immigrants, who have held classes with a total of around 110,000 Brazilians. Set up in 2015 in São Paulo, the NGO isn’t just active in Brazil’s biggest city: it’s now spread to Rio de Janeiro, Belo Horizonte and Brasilia. Other cities are due to follow, and they’re looking to bring the concept to other countries too.

Check out the video below for an interview with the founder (himself an immigrant to Brazil) and a look into some of the workshops on offer. English subtitles are available.

This article is a translation of the original which appeared on RESET’s German-language platform.

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