With an open smile, kindness, and excellent Portuguese, Tancred Bastrup-Birk is a familiar figure at the Associação Prover in São Cristóvão, a neighborhood in the North Zone of Rio de Janeiro. Twice a week, he meets with a group of young people aged 14 to 18 as a volunteer educator for the Recode-affiliated NGO, mentoring his second group in technology courses for digital empowerment. “It’s a great feeling. It’s rewarding to know that I can help young people who want to continue learning,” says Tancred, who was born in London, United Kingdom.

This foreigner, already so comfortable in Brazil, found in the partnership with Recode the chance to realize a dream: to take a break from his busy work as a technology project manager in England for a sabbatical period in search of another type of fulfillment. Tancred first came to Brazil in 2014 when he volunteered for the first time during the Rio Olympics. “I loved the event, the city, and the cariocas,” he says. Back home, he learned about Recode’s work and began planning for the current experience.

In contact with Marleide Lopes, a social worker for the organization, he discovered that the Prover NGO had no technology classes after the departure of the social educator. He then took three weeks of courses and delved into Recode’s methodology to motivate young people in the classroom. Most of them live in nearby communities such as Tuiuti, Mangueira, and Barreira do Vasco and, for the first time, have a teacher who is interested in what they want for the future.

“This is quite different from what they’re used to. I ask them questions to think about their life projects, priorities. They get into the dynamic and have great ideas and discover the resources they need to have opportunities in the job market, study, or start their own businesses,”celebrates Tancred, who has already seen two former students hired as Young Apprentices.

Leticia Vieira, 18, who is six months pregnant with her first child, found encouragement from the educator to continue studying. Without a computer at home, she learned Office package skills in his classes and became interested in taking new technology courses. And with Tancred, she also learned a little more about Europe. “He cared about us and paid attention. That’s cool,” says Leticia, who now feels more prepared to work in administrative roles and in her boyfriend’s store after the baby’s birth.