Designing a better life
Life seemed bleak for Josinaldo da Silva Batista. He was living in the outskirts of Fortaleza in Northwest Brazil, his time divided between classes in a public school and working at a co-op brushing chestnuts. Scraping chestnuts from their hard, spiny shells didn’t give Josinaldo the mental stimulation he craved, but his family desperately needed the $50 per month it provided.
“[He] came here without having ever connected with a computer in his life. Today he has a huge potential; he is studying computer science, he stands out and he is an example for all the other youngsters here," said Fabio Beneduce, ITEVA Director. “It was not an activity which offered me a great perspective for my future,” said Josinaldo.
The young man knew he wanted something more. Though Fortaleza is Brazil’s fifth largest city, the outskirts are remote, and Josinaldo’s family had difficulty accessing the outside world. A lack of infrastructure meant no computers at his high school, little public transportation, and no running water or sewage system.
With the blessing of his family, Josinaldo decided to quit the co-op and apply for a free two-year course in digital communications sponsored by a Microsoft nonprofit partner, Advanced Technical and Vocational Institute (ITEVA). The ITEVA office in Aquiraz was about a 40-minute bus ride from Josinaldo’s home. He had to get up early each morning, travel to ITEVA, and then take the bus home to Fortaleza for high school classes. Those long bus rides would, eventually, lead to even greater things.
Josinaldo da Silva Batista