Charting a new path with a youth group

Eduardo Henrique is 19 years old and has been living since he was a little child at Vila Aritana, Recife, one of the most violent capital cities of the Brazilian Northeast, a region presenting some of the worst socioeconomic indices of the country. The neighbourhood where he lives in is one of the most vulnerable of the city, where cases of domestic violence, sexual abuse and exploitation of children and adolescents, murder and drug trafficking are registered on a daily basis. The streets are poorly lit and not paved, thus greatly preventing the access of residents and of basic public services, especially during the rainy season.

Nevertheless, Dudu, as he likes to be called, loves living there and dreams of better days for his community. In the meantime, he spends his free time singing and writing the first pages of the book he wants to publish someday.

A traumatic childhood

However, the life of Dudu has never been that easy, as it has not been for many other adolescents and young people in Brazil. When he was a baby, his parents were alcoholics and used to leave him alone for hours, hungry and without any care. For this reason, his grandmother sent him to his godmother, who raised him. At the new home, he was fine until he turned four, when his godfather also began to beat him up whenever he drank alcohol, blaming him for all the problems that affected his family.

His father, on the rare occasions that he came by, tried to involve him in robberies (his older brother is currently arrested). When this continued into his adolescence, it made him feel bad and guilty for all his problems and his family's problems. Sometimes, when he was feeling very bad, he would even contemplate ending his own life.

turning things around

It was precisely at this period of his life, in mid-2006, that Eduardo met Ms. Amanda Tamires, an educator of youth from the ADP Casa Grande, a World Vision’s programme that benefits approximately 3,800 children, adolescents and young people in the community in which he lives. It was she who introduced him to MJPOP (Youth Monitoring of Public Policies) and left an indelible mark on his life.

“Amanda was an instrument of God so that I could be alive today. When I found myself sad, she knew that. It seems that she felt my pain, she advised me, guided me, playing several times the role of mother to me. In those days, she was the only one who gave me a hug, who made ​​me want to keep on living. I love her with all the strength of my existence.”

Participating in the MJPOP radically changed his life. In the beginning, he had difficulties xpressing himself and participating in the activities; but nowadays, along with his group mates, he mobilizes the community, speaks to local leaderships and takes the needs of residents to the municipal authorities.

One of the greatest achievements they have already obtained is the implementation of a health care facility in the community, which is already under construction and will be operational by end of this year.

Participate in the MJPOP changed the life story of Eduardo. Currently, the boy who found it difficult to express himself joined the National Commission of Communication of this movement, interested in making it grow and witnessing his contribution for achieving many other young people from all regions of Brazil. At the personal level, he applied for university entrance examinations, got a scholarship and entered the university. He is about to attend the Computer Network under-graduation course. Dudu would not have come this far without the support of so many generous hands, most of them anonymous, to support him during the moments of suffering and hardship.

He will not stop here. He has many dreams and wants them to come true: “Nowadays, I found many reasons to live. Looking back, I realized that I am no longer a child with many problems, but rather a young dreamer, full of hopes for a better future. Thanks to World Vision who opened and continues to open many doors for me”.