O Pequeno Nazareno is an NGO that has been working for 16 years in the Northeast of Brazil to decrease human suffering and the social exclusion of thousands of children and adolescents who live on the streets of Recife in extreme poverty. The NGO’s mission is to improve the quality of life of these socially disadvantaged children and adolescents through their (re) insertion to civil society and the labour market, offering basic support; education; professionalizing courses and socialization – integrating them to the context of social participation and full exercise of citizenship.

The institution was set up by Bernd Josef Rosemeyer, when he realized it was necessary to create a space in the city to welcome those people, specifically boys and girls, left by family. Since the beginning, the target of Pequeno Nazareno has always been young people in extreme social vulnerability: boys and girls, most of whom are afro-descendants, living in communities with the worst Human Development Index (HDI) of the city, known nationally for the biggest rates of violence and murders of teenagers and young adults in the country. They are children and adolescents who, many times, suffer domestic violence, are sexually violated, have to beg and are exploited as child workers – in some cases by their own families, forcing them to sell their bodies, steal or kill in order to bring money home. These people need an opportunity in life, need to be cared for, need to be respected.

One of O Pequeno Nazareno’s line’s of work is the preparation and integration of adolescents and youth in the job market. It’s an initiative called Projeto Gente Grande (PGG) and adolescents who attend the institution and are over 14 years old, can take part. PGG provides them independence, professional growth and critical sense, through programs such as Jovem Aprendiz (Young Apprentic), Primeiro Emprego (First Job) and paid internships.

The method is based on ‘hands on’ education, and the training is made possible through theoretical and practical lessons introducing the curriculum, the laboratory and the internship. There are two opportunities where the apprentice is able to make the connection between theory and practice. The first is in the laboratory, where they develop the skills learned on the course, under the supervision of the teachers. And the second moment is the internship in a partner company. The partner companies provide the opportunity for the students to put their knowledge into practice in a professional way under technical supervision of a company employee.

One of the major struggles the organization has experienced since 2010, however, has been to find partnerships with companies and institutions that favor the inclusion of these adolescents into the world of work. And this is where TIE comes in. OPN is looking for help to create a communications campaign to raise awareness of O Pequeno Nazareno’s work to local businesses and clearly explain the opportunities and benefits to a company that would be looking to hire young apprentices from the NGO.

By doing this OPN can change the life perspective of young people in extreme social conditions that are enrolled in PGG, making them more autonomous and aware of their role in society. By inserting these young people into the job market, OPN will directly impact these young people’s lives, their families and consequently the communities where they live.