Leaving poverty through training in the heart of a Brazilian favela...

As a means of escaping poverty, training that leads to access to the job market seems to work. This is what the Franco-Brazilian association Associação Arca de Noé de Apoio Social is working for. It offers apprenticeship courses to people living in one of Brazil’s favelas in Sao Paulo.

Social & Employment

  • Location:

    Sao Paulo, Brésil

  • Sponsor:

    Valentine Barnoin

  • Grant:
    €20,000 at the selection committee meeting on 21 October 2019

Project Leader

Associação Arca de Noé de Apoio Social

"We plan to enrich the program with contributions from Veolia employees on topics such as sustainable development, preserving resources and, more generally, how life in the workplace works.”
Valentine Barnoin

In Brazil, 90% of adults living in the Sao Paulo favela Vila Prudente did not finished high school[1]. And standing at 30% the unemployment rate there is well above the national average. Poverty is therefore widespread. The Franco-Brazilian association Arca de Noé de Apoio Social is seeking to change things. It offers educational and social support to locals so they can become independent and self-confident, and therefore better prepared for and adapted to the world of work.


Support in building social skills

Arca de Noé de Apoio Social is at the head of two help centres in the heart of the favela. The first, "Arca do Saber," the "Ark of Knowledge" in English, was created in 2001. It welcomes 120 children a day, from 6 to 14 years old, and offers them educational, cultural and sports activities. The second, "Arca do Crescer" - crescer meaning to grow up - was founded in 2017. It is a vocational training and guidance centre for young people and adults from the age of 16. It helps them to quickly join or re-join the labour market. The centre is supported by French companies and partners based in Sao Paulo.

Three training courses are currently offered to the beneficiaries of this support: one focusing on bakery, another on the hotel business, and the third on sales. In addition to learning the technical aspects of these trades, participants also learn how to build a career project for themselves. This last approach also enables them to work on their own socio-emotional skills, which are essential part of working life. They also acquire an understanding of business ethics and corporate culture. Beneficiaries complete their training with a technical visit to a company.


Pragmatism in relation to courses / Training to enter the job market

Two years after its launch, the Arca do Crescer project will continue to develop with the support of the Veolia Foundation. Over the period 2020-2021, existing actions will be consolidated, but new training courses will also be created. Some will focus on digital skills. The Poeta program (Partnership for Employment Opportunities through Technology in the Americas) will be set up. Modules for learning business English and Portuguese remedial courses will be available. Training courses leading to work in the restaurant business will be added to the range of training courses. Efforts will also be made to communicate information about this program in order to improve trainee recruitment. Finally, the association would like to focus on hosting refugee students during their training.

[1] According to an Ipsos study