When former Brazilian doctor Filipe Paiva came to Melbourne 10 months ago, he soon noticed the disengagement between Brazilians and the local community.
“Many of us came here by ourselves and it’s very hard for us to connect with strangers, especially when you don’t dominate the language,” he said.
Mr Paiva said language barriers made it challenging for Brazilian immigrants, workers and students to feel included in Australia.
“To live here in a better way, we need to work and we need to have emotional support. And those things I believe we can get when we are in contact with others.”
In 2016, Mr Paiva was encouraged by his Brazilian friends to create a short guide for Brazilians to learn more about Melbourne.
From a compact paragraph about Melbourne came a comprehensive information pack for new-coming Brazilians, introducing to them this amazing Australian city.
Mr Paiva partnered with his friend Victório Borges, who designed the graphics of the digital guide and, together, they launched a website and social media group called “Melbourne for Brazilians”, or “Melbourne para Brasileiros” in Portuguese.
“Last September we launched the guide and we already have hundreds of followers on our social media,” Mr Paiva said.
The “Melbourne for Brazilians” guide details how to rent accommodation, where to seek medical help, working rights, where to learn English and many other aspects of life in Melbourne.
Mr Paiva said the guide had now become a “survival pack” for Brazilians not yet familiar with the city.
“The chapters talk about almost every issue. It also includes a chapter for LGBT people,” he said
“Our aim now is to help the Brazilian community in Melbourne to get along with other nationalities, because most of us who come here don’t speak very good English and it’s hard for us to engage with Australians.”
There is an ever-growing Brazilian community in Melbourne.
Mr Paiva said most of Brazilians in Victoria lived in the Melbourne CBD.
“Brazilians are attracted to modern facilities and like the convenience of city living,” he said.
He has also created a WhatsApp messaging group for the hundreds of Brazilians who live in the city.
Mr Paiva and Mr Borges said their next step was to expand their information guide and create workshops and community group sessions to improve Brazilians’ English skills and help them develop cultural awareness to be integrated into the local community.
“Melbourne for Brazilians” can be viewed and downloaded from www.melbourneparabrasileiros.com and people can join in conversations about how to better engage with the Brazilian community on Facebook at fb.com/melbourneparabrasileiros