We want to thank you for partnering with us in our mission to empower youth with disabilities in Brazil through technical and life skills training by sharing a recent participant story from our local partner SPDM (Asso (Associação Paulista Para o Desenvolvimento da Medicina) in Guarani, Brazil.
Guilherme is a 21-year-old student who has Down Syndrome and Epilepsy, conditions that affect his learning pace. With the hope of acquiring new skills to obtain a job, Guilherme joined the POETA Center on January 24th, 2019, where he started taking training in Job Readiness, Digital Literacy, Health and Life Quality and Personal Finances.
As he became familiar with the content seen in class, including how to use a computer and Microsoft Office tools, Guilherme also began to develop his social skills by making friends among his classmates and increasing his self-esteem.
Guilherme's experiences at the POETA Center in Guarani and the mentorship and guidance he received from the Center's facilitators enabled him to grow emotionally and to be more prepared to obtain a job.
At this time, Guilherme is still taking part in training at the Center and, through the Center's efforts and local partnerships, he is now closer to obtain a job.
Sumaia is a 28-year-old woman that lives with her parents and her 3 brothers in Sao Paulo, Brazil a city with one of the highest violence and organized crime rates in the country. Due to an accident, Sumaia suffered a brain injury that resulted in a visual disability and Dyscalculia, a condition that makes it difficult to learn and understand numbers, arithmetic, and math in general.
Despite this challenge, Sumaia has always had the dream to become an entrepreneur and financially provide for her and her family. Understanding she had to learn basic computer abilities and entrepreneur skills to achieve her dream, Sumaia joined the POETA Center (CTI Renato Archer) in Sao Paulo. In the Center, she took courses with accessible components on how to use and manipulate PowerPoint presentations and Word documents. She also took part in the Entrepreneurship, How to Start Your Own Venture and Job Readiness courses. It was thanks to the guidance and mentorship Sumaia received from the facilitators at the Center that she felt encouraged to continue learning and enrolling in more training.
She quickly stood out as her motivation and self-esteem increased exponentially. Sumaia is now planning on opening her own business. "Thanks to the POETA Center in my city, I learned the basic tools of a computer and acquired the skills to open a business" says Sumaia.
In this report we would like to share the story of Erica, a 23 year old Brazilian girl with visual and physical disabilities. Thanks to your donations, Erica, was empowered by digital literacy trainings (Excel, Power Point, Outlook, Word, etc.) which allowed her to pursue her dream of becoming a Nutritionist.
Erica lives with her mother in Arapoanga Planaltina, DF, an underserved and marginalized community in Brazil hit by violence, drug trafficking and consumption. However, her community’s harsh context has never stopped her of dreaming of becoming a Nutritionist and neither have her disabilities. She was born with a visual disability, which forces her to wear a prosthesis in her right eye, and several physical disabilities (Dislocation of the hip and Limb Length Discrepancy) but she has never backed down, showing resilience by being determined to build her own future.
Inspired by her resilience, Erica could graduate from middle school by her own means; however, she felt she lacked the digital abilities that would help become a professional. It was until Erica attended a POETA Center in Brasilia, run by OSCJC, that she found her passion for technology and could finally acquire digital skills.
Her high performance in the digital literacy and job readiness courses at the POETA Center enabled her to obtain an internship at the Jovem Candango do Governo do Distrito Federal Program, were she constantly exceled and impressed her supervisors. Inspired and empowered by the skills acquired at the POETA Center, she was selected to study Nutrition at SEP Saúde, a higher education institution in the area of health.
To empower more youth like Erica, donate $75 to provide a full scholarship to one particicpant.
The Trust for the Americas is committed to supporting people from vulnerable communities in overcoming obstacles by teaching courses in professional and technological skills, and offering guidance for new economic opportunities. Through our Social Franchise POETA (Partnership for Economic Opportunities through Technology in the Americas), we have many success stories from our beneficiaries at POETA Centers all over Brazil. However, we would like to share one particular story that demonstrates how it is possible to achieve your dreams, no matter the obstacles in your path.
Helen Keller once said that “the only thing worse than being blind, was having sight and no vision.” Meet Wilma, of Curitiba, Brazil – a woman who, despite many challenges, has proven that having a vision for the future can be just as important as being able to see it.
Wilma is 52, married with a daughter, and lives with her husband in the outskirts of Parana. She is also blind. Despite this, she has completed her secondary education, and has participated in professional qualification courses for the companies Brado Logística, and Formula Auto Trade LTDA. Today, Wilma takes part in the Simulated Environment Learning program, where she develops her skills at Universidad Libre.
Wilma arrived at the POETA YouthSpark Center without any idea of computer science, largely due to her visual limitations. She thought she would be unable to develop activities which involved computers for the blind, and felt the program would include modules that could not accommodate her disability. However, during the Computer Training module, Wilma learned about new tools computers had available, and how they were able to facilitate the practical activities of the visually impaired.
After completing the Computer Training module, the Computer Reinforcement module was made available to those with visual disabilities, allowing Wilma to continue to develop her skills. Today, she is more confident than ever in using a computer for practical activities.
Wilma adapted fast to the computing courses, always interested, asking questions and challenging her colleagues to do better. She also has had a great relationship with the instructor, and clearly her potential has been noted, leading to more opportunities at the center. Her education at POETA has been a great success despite all the challenges she faced upon arrival.
In the future, Wilma would like to work on projects that create more spaces for people with visual disabilities, in order to help others like her find employment opportunities more easily in any area they choose. With your support, we help youth like Wilma, who otherwise wouldn’t have easy access to technology and its benefits.
People with disabilities and/or economic and social barriers are mostly underrepresented in the fields related to technology. We kindly encourage you to keep donating so that people like Wilma can make a better future for themselves and their families.
Erica is 23 and lives in Apropoanga Planaltina, Brasilia with her mother and 14-year-old brother.
Her parents are divorced; thus, Erica’s mother is the sole provider for their family. As the Apropoanga community is influenced by drug trafficking, gang violence and criminal activity, Erica wants to pursue a higher education and support her family. As a recent high school graduate, Erica has two disabilities effecting her vision and ability to walk. With a prosthetic eye and shorted limb due to a dislocated hip, Erica has difficulty finding employment opportunities which accommodate her disabilities.
Despite Erica’s social and economic obstacles, she has excelled professionally because of the POETA program. POETA (Partnership for Economic Opportunities through Technology in the Americas), is a regional initiative that promotes digital literacy, life skills and job readiness to advance economic opportunities for vulnerable youth; especially for at-risk youth, women and people with disabilities. PEOTA aims to bridge an inequality gap utilizing a multidisciplinary approach which helps participants develop life plans, start or strengthen social and economic ventures, secure jobs or internships and further educational opportunities. Thus, POETA operates through a network of technology centers, equipped with computers, adapted and assistive technology and learning materials.
Erica’s determination and perseverance to overcome societal barriers has advanced her professional career. While taking digital training courses, Excel/Word and computer science classes at POETA, Erica was selected to participate in Banco do Brasil’s Youth Candanga program.
As the Candanga Youth program is ending in the next year, Erica wants to pursue a degree in nutrition. As a diligent student, Erica passed the entrance exam, SEP Saude, but will need financial support to pursue the two-year Vocational Nutritiondegree program.
Digital and professional skills Erica acquired while attending classes at the POETA Center continue to shape her professional career and employment endeavors.
With your continued support, the POETA program can facilitate the success of determined individuals, like Erica, who would not otherwise have opportunities to participate in fields related to technology.
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