By Ciara Long, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Teenagers aged between 12 and 17 from underprivileged areas of Rio de Janeiro have the opportunity to take free courses, in an initiative aimed at helping them gain a competitive edge when entering the job market. The initiative, run by governmental social work organization RioSolidario, is celebrating its first year in operation.
The course, called ‘Casa Futuro Agora’ (House Future Now), began in February 2016, has had more than 1,500 graduates in its first year. In addition to youths from underprivileged communities, the project is also been offered to young offenders in Rio’s juvenile detention facilities (DEGASE).
The project offers adolescents the opportunity to study computer science, English and spoken word poetry. RioSolidario also offers an audiovisual course, which allows young people to create and edit their own video projects and learn about Brazilian cinema.
“It is important to highlight that different areas of knowledge are addressed, which will serve as the basis for the labor market,” said Casa Futuro Agora’s coordinator, Luis Teixeira. “Poetry, for example, helps in orality and thought organization. Even the younger ones can benefit from English and computer classes.”
Courses are offered at Casa Futuro Agora’s units, which are placed throughout the city in Campinho, Cordovil, Gardênia Azul, Manguariba, Prazeres, São Carlos, São João, Sepetiba and Urucânia. Casa Futuro Agora also works in three of Rio’s Degase units in Ilha do Governador, Penha and Bangu.
Carlos, one of the students who learnt English and IT skills through the project last year, signed up to the course when his mother told him about it. “I spoke with a foreigner on Skype. I never thought this could happen,” he said.
Classes will be available on demand, with audiovisual and poetry courses planned to commence in March. Students wishing to participate must register with their CPF, proof of residence and identity card at one of Casa Futuro Agora’s units.