by Jessica, with the help of Henrique Gabriel and Diana
Working at Tesla? Study Mechanical Engineering? Speak fluent English? Teach English? Travel to Hawaii?
Maybe these are dreams that seem easy to achieve to you. Maybe you dare to dream about traveling or working abroad because these opportunities have always presented themselves to you.
However, not everyone is born and raised in an environment where these dreams come true. EduMais teaches in Pavão-Pavãozinho and Cantagalo favelas in Rio de Janeiro. Kids grow up in a very unstable environment, where running water, a roof and an own room are considered a luxury. Safety is never guaranteed, as shootings, muggings and crime prevail in the favelas. One public school exists in these communities and presents the lowest literacy rates in Rio de Janeiro State.
EduMais operates in these communities to provide the kids with a good education, which allows them to dream and improve their living conditions. Henrique Gabriel, one of EduMais former students, is an example of a fighter who has had the audacity to dream and work hard to create a better world.
19 years old and freshly graduated from Solar Meninos de Luz, Henrique Gabriel has attended English classes with EduMais since 2016 and is now a volunteer English teacher.
“I was born in Brazil and grew up here in the favela. In 2015 I got a scholarship to study English outside school, in a language school called Cultura Inglesa. At this time, EduMais classes were only offered to High School students, so I only started EduMais English classes in 2016, in my 1st year of High School. I got fascinated because the teachers at EduMais are native speakers. I have only had classes with Brazilians up until then. EduMais classes were just great! From 2016 to 2019, my last year of school, my English kept improving a lot with EduMais. I also became friends with a few volunteers!”
Though Henrique was always a fast learner, he did not feel like teaching was his calling. However, during his last year of school, his perception changed and in him grew the idea that he would like to give back to the world what he had the chance to learn and experience. Henrique is confident that speaking English is a great advantage in his life. He can communicate with anyone in the world, which is so important.
“It makes a big difference for the kids to start learning English from a young age. I now want to give back what I had the opportunity to get! So this year I asked if I could volunteer at summer camp, in the beginning of the year. I also taught 6th grade English class. Because we had to re-organize classes due to the pandemic, I now teach English classes for adults together with Jessica. I also participated in the positive discipline course. It helped me understand how to deal with 9-10 year old kids and other people as well. I didn’t know what to expect and the course helped me feel more relaxed about it!”
Henrique Gabriel studies Mechanical Engineering at UERJ. Due to the pandemic, he had online lessons during his first semester.
“My dream is to have a good job, become happy and succeed on everything I try! Also, I want to travel to Hawaii! I think it is a peaceful place and a place that is on my to-do list. I’d also like to work outside of Brazil at Tesla, because they are innovating a lot and I think it is amazing what they are doing with electrical cars.”
Henrique is also known for his aptitude to identify and speak different English dialects. Once, while meeting a friend of Diana’s, she asked him where he thought her friend was from. Without hesitating, he immediately identified the Irish accent! Though Henrique firmly believes a bit of luck was involved, he has shown his capabilities various times. He speaks and differentiates clearly between American, Australian and British English for instance. He says that those are very different, so they are easier to set apart from each other.
“I believe what helped me understand different dialects and know more words is listening to music in English. It helps me to be more fluent. Sometimes I like to write music in English. I feel much more comfortable to write music in English because almost all music I listen to is in English. I don’t play an instrument but what I do is go on Youtube and search for free beats to use. When I find a good one I try to write something that fits with the beat. Hopefully in 2021 I’ll record some of this and put it online!”
Personally, I believe this story is an inspiration to the world. No matter where you come from, you are allowed to dream big and work hard to make your dream come true. Though Henrique Gabriel does not yet work at Tesla, I am confident that with his strength and dedication he has shown over the years, he will one day meet his goal.
NGOs like EduMais and Solar Meninos de Luz are vital to support kids who grow up in vulnerable environments. High quality education is the basis for every child to be able to have a job, communicate with everyone around the world and being able to explore different places and opportunities.
Would you like to contribute to this vision? A world, in which education is a foundational food available to everyone? Would you like to get to know Henrique Gabriel and teach side by side with him? You might even learn some more English with him 😉 Join our team in Rio de Janeiro and help make our kids’ dreams come true!! Contact us with your questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.