When Lucas Bitar, 1, learned about the selection process for the Recode program in partnership with the NGO Redes da Maré, in the Maré Complex, he was sure he could not miss the opportunity. As a “nini”, he needed support to believe in his own future. As soon as he finished the course, he was able to pass the selection process for Young Apprentice, his first formal job.

“When I finished high school I felt very depressed because there was nothing for me to do. I lost several jobs because I did not know how to use a computer. This is the life of a person in the community: you finish a very weak public school and you don´t have any dreams”, says Lucas. This scenario completely changed after the participation in the Recode program.

“Most of the things I learned were through technology. Our homes do not have books. We have to stimulate the critical thinking of this group. Recode did a lot of this to me and that’s what I want to do from now on. I discovered things in my community that I did not know. I discovered that there are many brave black and strong people like me”, he celebrates.

With a higher self-esteem, Lucas has also tightened ties with Maré himself and wants to break down some stereotypes and prejudices associated with one of Rio de Janeiro’s largest slum complexes, home to more than 130,000 people. “I want to work to empower black youth in their culture. I want to be the person who speaks and represents them”, he says, adding that he intends to attend a Social Sciences college to pursue his studies and social activism.