Miquéias Azevedo do Nascimento is 21 years old and lives near Instituto Solidare in Coqueiral which is an urban district of Recife situated in Pernambuco, North East Brazil. ‘Young people are in a very vulnerable situation where I live, without an adequate education, without a profession, seeking a solution in the world of crime, violence, and drugs.’
While he was still in school Miquéias began attending Instituto Solidare’s Mentoring and Skills Training Programme, called Project Pescar.
Before starting the training, Miquéias did not know what he wanted to do with his life and the mentoring helped him to uncover his interests, gave him direction, and enabled him to discover his leadership abilities. ‘My experience of the training was excellent, I found that I have the ability to lead. I found out what I really wanted for my life.’
Alongside the professional skills which the training equipped Miquéias with, he has shared the impact that it had upon his faith. ‘I learnt during the mentoring and through Instituto Solidare that everything we have comes from God. My faith is a part of who I am.’
‘At the end of the training I felt very accomplished. The mentoring trained us as professionals and shaped us as citizens.’ The focus on citizenship in the training is supported by research into development in Brazil which has found that fostering citizenship and participation influences human development outcomes and the well-being of communities.
‘Completing the training completely changed my life. When I started the mentoring I had no future and I did not know what I wanted to do in my professional life. By the end of the training, I had total direction and had expectations of a better future.’
Miquéias has since completed a technical course in business administration, got his first job, and is currently completing a course in journalism. Unfortunately, the Coronavirus pandemic has meant that his work placement has been suspended, as it has for many young adults. Brazil has seen a surge in unemployment throughout 2020 and, according to research, the pandemic has put 83.5% of the job market in a state of vulnerability.
After completing his journalism course Miquéias wants to be working and, most importantly, to be working doing something that he enjoys. He wants to achieve financial stability and to be able to help his family, who he emphasises are in need of help.