Wednys Souza de Oliveira is 20 years old and lives in Coqueiral near Instituto Solidare which sits between the main metropolitan area of Recife and one of its municipalities Jaboatão. He currently lives with his family who have faced many hardships, especially during the Coronavirus pandemic. They have had to economise and make cuts in order to get by.
Wednys attended school where he says that ‘the standards of teaching and the school facilities were inadequate, although with dedication you can take advantage of what is available.’ He only received two full day of teaching per week, attending school between 8am and 12pm for the rest of the week. This is a common problem across the state of Pernambuco in North East Brazil where Wednys lives. According to research published in 2019, the majority of students living there only receive 3 and ½ hours of schooling per day.
After graduating school, Wednys was unable to find work and attended Instituto Solidare’s Mentoring and Skills Training Scheme, called Project Pescar. Wednys thoroughly enjoyed being a part of the mentoring and skills training as he says it allowed him to ‘learn about interpersonal relationships, how to carry myself, and how to communicate with people in different situations.’ He developed his leadership skills through a part of the training where he was chosen to be the president of a fictitious company which the students created. ‘I felt very happy and fulfilled to have finished the project, it gave me a direction.’
Participating in the training enabled Wednys to get his first job in industrial mechanics at Gerdau, an iron and steel firm. It also helped him to discover that automotive mechanics is his passion and the area that he wants to work in. Research into poverty in Brazil has found that job training initiatives are one of the most effective ways of helping young people and their families to overcome economic and social hardships.
Wednys says that ‘I would not be who I am today without the training.’
Since the project finished, Wednys has maintained the friendships he made through the training and has kept in touch with his mentors who have remained invested in his development.
In the future, Wednys wants to continue to study and to own a workshop so that he can work in automotive mechanics. ‘I want to help and support my family. I also want to get married and have a family of my own.’