Vagner is today 20 years old. He grew the slums (favelas) of Sao Paulo where daily life was full of conflicts both inside and outside the home. He always got enough food at home, but otherwise there was no money for anything extra. As a teenager, he looked up to and admired the criminals who had fancy clothes, cars and seemingly lots of money. He was 13 years old and many of his friends were tempted by the easy money to be earned in the criminal world.
Place at the Kolibri (Hummingbird) Project
At that age Vagner get got a place at the Hummingbird/Kolibri Project. He vividly remembers that important moment of his life. “I went through a transformation. I now see that Kolibri was a liberation for me at that time because nearly all the friends I hung out went the wrong way. I´m sure that if I hadn´t started at Kolibri then I would ended up as they did. Kolibri distanced me from them because I went to the school in the morning and did activities at the Kolibri centers in the afternoon. There simply was no time for me to hang out in the streets with my friends.”
Vagner saw his best friends get involved with crime. Some were arrested, some were killed and some continue their «career» in the criminal bands.
A defining company visit
«When I was 14 years old I started at the Nectar Project at Kolibri where I received guidance and professional preparation to later start working. Through the two years in the program I learned things that serve as a basis for my adult life», says Vagner. When visiting the nearby subsidiary of the Swedish firm, Elanders, Vagner demonstrated curiosity and this was noted by the employee who accompanied the visitors. Soon afterwards there was an opening at the company to start working as a paid intern. Vagner grabbed the opportunity with both hands. Eight months later he was hired on a permanent basis and this year he was promoted. His dreams are becoming reality.
“My dream now is to study at university. I want to study mechanical engineering and have already been accepted at a good university to start the course in February 2020.”
Vagner, João, Maria... there are thousands of stories where you as a donor can make a difference. Make your Christmas gift this year be a place at the Kolibri project for one more of kids living in the slums of São Paulo.
From the Kolibri Team