A salvation. Jefferson Maia followed a very different path from all his friends who grew up with him in Cidade de Deus, a community in the West Zone of Rio de Janeiro dominated by drug trafficking. At the age of 4, he was enrolled in the Presbyterian Institute Álvaro Reis (INPAR), an institution that has been a partner of Recode for 18 years in technology courses in the community. His father, who worked odd jobs as a bricklayer, and his mother, who juggled tasks as a daily cleaner and street vendor, needed a place to leave the boy while they worked. Little did they know, then, how much that decision would change Jefferson’s life.

“I started taking computer courses at INPAR when I was 11 years old, and by the age of 13, I was already a monitor and assisting the children. I spent seven years there, where I became an educator. Because of my experience, I went through the selection process for the Coca-Cola Collective, which trains young people for the job market, where I stayed for another 7 years. I taught employability, retail, logistics, and events,” explains Jefferson.

At 27 years old, the young man believes that it was the computer course that opened his eyes to the world. After finishing high school, he took a course in cultural production and is currently studying marketing at college. “It was the first step I took. It was from those classes that I decided to enter the world of education and pass on my knowledge. A month ago, I was approved to work for a Coca-Cola subsidiary, where I hold the position of relationship specialist. It is very rewarding to understand this path and realize where I have been able to reach,” he evaluates.

Always looking to the future, Jefferson does not intend to stop improving himself and embraces the challenges that life imposes on him. A few years ago, he lost his younger brother to drugs. His brother’s son, whom he now calls his own son because he raises him with his mother’s help, is the reason for all his effort and dedication.

“My brother left me a present when he passed away. Bernardo. He asked me to choose his name and asked me to be his godfather, as if he already knew what life had in store for him. My son is the most important thing in my life, and I always want to be able to give him the best,” concludes Jefferson.

For Liliane Mynssen, project coordinator at INPAR, the partnership with Recode strengthens the institution’s work.

“It is gratifying to be part of a project that is concerned with making a difference in young people’s lives. This partnership contributes greatly to the activities we are carrying out at INPAR. Seeing young people, like Jefferson, developing brings the certainty that technology is an extremely important tool for us to work on competencies and prepare these young people for the future,” she concludes.