“I don't want help from the...

“I don't want help from the government, I want to work! Why don't they let me work? It's the worst ... there is a great need, in the fields, in the markets, cleaning houses or cooking. But without papers I can't do anything. Now we need to work to pay rent and eat, then I'll think about my career.”

Flavio (34 years old) 
18 years of professional experience in the tourism sector


Flavio & Nivaldo, a gay couple from Brazil, arrived in Spain in December 2020 with the intention of seeking asylum. In Spain, during the first 6 months, asylum seekers have no right to work or to ask for any kind of help. They have to endure. Flavio and Nivaldo arrived with savings that they thought were sufficient, they even invested in language classes to prepare as best as they could for their new life. But finally the expenses turned out to be higher than they thought and last month they faced a dilemma: pay the rent or buy the food.

They looked for small jobs, picking potatoes or cleaning, but even if in some cases people were willing to give them these jobs, the pandemic changed everything. They were slow to ask for help because they were never in this type of situation before. In Brazil they had a good life: Flavio worked in the tourism sector while Nivaldo taught art history classes in a public school. They had a good standard of living, but Bolsonaro's new policies increasingly made them want to emigrate.

“We have taken a long time to ask for help, because we thought that since we still have money, there are people who are in a much worse situation. But the moment came when I saw that I am not going to get a job as quickly as I thought and that I need to save some money to pay for electricity, rent and all this. We have never been in a situation like this, we have never needed to ask for assistance and we have not come to Spain for this. But now we have run out of money and what little is left we have to use to pay at least part of the rent. Of course we thought that it would be difficult to come here and change life, but we did not think that this will happen in Europe, that it will be so difficult.”

Nivaldo, 26 years old, in Brazil taught art history in a public school.

They resolved themselves to seek help, turning to institutions such as Caritas and the Red Cross, proposing at the same time their volunteer work during the pandemic. Neither one answered them. With the social services they managed to speak after a lot of insistence with calls to 010, to finally hear that they are not entitled to any help. The social worker, apologizing, proposed a food basket as an one time exceptional help that cannot be repeated.

In La Brecha, a self-managed solidarity pantry in the Vallecas district they can collect food every two weeks. They appreciate it and in return they get involved in preparing baskets for others. But what they keep repeating all the time is that they have the will and strength to work and earn a living themselves. 

*To learn more about the center and / or support the solidarity pantry enter here: LA BRECHA
Flavio & Nivaldo_eng  
Flavio & Nivaldo_eng  
Flavio & Nivaldo_eng  

Hanna Jarzabek - Photography & Documentary Storytelling

Documentary photographer and Multimedia Storyteller specialized in projects addressing discrimination and societal dysfunctions, with accent on Europe.
Website via Visura

Hanna Jarzabek - Photography & Documentary Storytelling is integrated to:
Visura site builder, a tool to grow your photography business
Visura's network for visual storytellers and journalists
A photography & film archive by Visura
Photography grants, open calls, and contests
A newsfeed for visual storytellers