Lenilson "Lenny" Nascimento is a Software Engineer at foobar Agency with more than 6 years of experience 👨🏻💻. He is also a mentor at VaiNaWeb Brazil 🇧🇷. We wanted to know a bit more about the project and had a chat with Lenny 💬.
Lenny is born and raised in Brazil. Knowing the situation of the Favelas, he describes them as a world in-between "City of God" and "Elite Squad".
"There are many problems. The environment is controlled by drug dealers. The easy option is to become also one, the hard one is going to the market and take the worst job to survive".
Historically Rio had a good economy and the city was developing. But from 1940 until 1970 there was an uncontrolled migrant movement from all over Brazil into the cities. It was hard for the migrants to find work and to live a decent life. Lenny advises watching " City of God " to get a picture of the life in the favelas. It describes the context of how the favelas were created and how it becomes what it is today.
"The most accurate movie about this reality. Every favela has its own reality. Some are controlled by the drug traffic, others by the police militia. Or watch "Elite Squad". This Story is based on a book, written by the head of a police lead working in the favelas."
When his last company "1STi" started a social project in the favelas, he was "on fire". They created VaiNaWeb.
And what is VaiNaWeb now?
VaiNaWeb wants to offer socially vulnerable people from the favelas a perspective, an alternative way to the drug dealer. For this, they offer free programming courses. free courses! The people stay 1 to 2 years with VaiNaWeb and study. Along the way, VaiNaWeb takes real projects so that students can test and expand their knowledge on real projects. "The best learning is on projects" This also increases the chance that they will be hired afterward. Which actually happens relatively often. "We are trying to do something and help does teenagers."
How is it structured?
At first, VaiNaWeb had different campuses in different favelas. However, each favela is a world of its own and has its own rules of the game. So it happened that students sometimes could not visit their campus in the favela because it was too dangerous. Due to the various circumstances, riots, etc., it has been reduced to one campus. There VaiNaWeb has two rooms: one for courses and one for working. The courses are also streamed so that people can participate from different places.
How is it financed?
Financially, VaiNaWeb is supported on the one hand by partnerships or sponsors. On the other hand, however, also by the projects accepted during and after the studies. The students work there, learn, and thus also contribute to the financial maintenance of the campus. Of course, they also receive a salary. The teachers also get a payment. A few of the first students became teachers at the campus afterward.
How is VaiNaWeb equipped?
To participate in the courses, there are computers on campus. Also to work on the projects. Most students only have a smartphone at home and few have a computer. VaiNaWeb tries to equip them during their studies so that they can learn and not be hindered by external circumstances.
"We try to facilitate and give them what they need."
What is Lenny doing there?
Lenny was there when VaiNaWeb was founded. "Seeing it being created. I was in the room when it was created, I watched it growing for 4 years".
However, the company could only spare two programmers as teachers and he was not chosen. Lenny was too indispensable :D Nevertheless, he considered himself a supporter. After all, the company was a sponsor and made money with his manpower. So, indirectly, he was already working for VaiNaWeb. However, after two years, he gave his employer a choice, either I get to teach or I leave.
" I wanted to be a teacher since the beginning but I had to go on with my projects. I wanted to do something that will warm my heart. One thing is you know you are working and you know your company is supporting them. I felt like I am part of it, helping with my work but now I wanted to go there. I talked to my boss: "I want to go there. Let me go there or I will leave". We were friends, so he understood. "
As a result, Lenny has now been working there as a teacher since 2021. With his move to Munich to join foobar onsite , he continues to support VaiNaWeb on a volunteer basis.
"Very exciting to know, that I am doing something for others who maybe have no other opportunities".
"The universe aligns it, I was waiting for it. "
So far, only the frontend has been taught there. Lenny is now building a backend course and wants to introduce it before he starts his journey to Germany.
"I am taking 1-2 hours a day, volunteering, helping on a project, and finishing the content for the backend course. I will teach the first year but have someone with me to learn so he can teach the next year."
"I will leave with the sensation that I finished it, leave nothing behind."