Edu Lyra: from the periphery in Brazil all the way to Forbes, inspiring transformation
Tuesday, 15 de May de 2018
A young man from Guarulhos, near the city of Sao Paulo, Brazil, shares his experience with educators from Betim, who are preparing to receive the Rota do Saber program or the "Route of Knowledge"
The life story of a young 30 year old social entrepreneur spread through out the seats of the auditorium of the Municipal Administrative Center of Betim, in Minas Gerais (Brazil), contagiously inspiring professionals in the area of education from the City Council who were gathered there. It’s a story of transformation that inspires those whose profession is to transform children and adolescents.
The speaker is Eduardo Lyra, raised in the periphery of Guarulhos, in the metropolitan area of Sao Paulo, and seen today as an important world leader, invited to speak to the educators of the Rota do Saber, an education program being implemented in the schools of Betim as the result of a partnership between the FCA, the Ramacrisna Institute and the Betim City Council, with the support of the National Bank for Economic Development (BNDES).
Lyra was invited because he is a reference when education and opportunity for young people from the periphery are allied. The greatest objective of the Route of Knowledge or Rota do Saber is to bet on the qualification of educators through the integration of school and the community in order to draw more effective methodologies and work approaches. These are two conferences –21 and 22 of February–, but the impact of those words and life history can reach, through educators, more than 30 thousand students within the 69 municipal schools that will be served by the Route of Knowledge in the region.
The son of Mrs. Maria Gorete (a maid) and an ex-convict father, his spirit swells in front of the audience when he tells his story – the many obstacles he faced as a child, generated by social inequality -–and how he became one of the most influential Brazilians under the age of 30, according to Forbes 2014. As a “Paulistano Nota 10” ( a Paulistano with a score of 10) he was also selected by Veja magazine (Brazil) and selected by the World Economic Forum as one of the 15 young Brazilians who can change the world. The national and international highlight is the result of the idealization of the Non-Governmental Organization Gerando Falcões or Generating Falcons, which currently benefits more than 1,200 families through sports, culture and professional qualification.
With bright eyes, a broad smile and a pulsing voice, Lyra explains where the inspiration for his walk towards the path to change his life came from. “I had, during my social dramas in my shack, among the violence and poverty, my strength, my world, my everything: my mother. She is my first greatest leader, who made me feel loved living in the shack”. Encouraged by Mrs. Maria Gorete, Edu seized the opportunities, certain of the teachings of his mother-mentor: “No matter where you come from, what matters is where you are going”. The phrase became a mantra for Lyra. With this perception, he realized that to reach the sky, one must value education and work in order to democratize opportunities. “In the favela (slums), we lack many things, there is scarcity, pain, violence. On the other hand, there is also art, resilience, ability to undertake. We need to build entrepreneurial communities to generate money with dignity for people”, he says with a realism full of hope.
After the meeting with the Betim educators, Lyra went to the headquarters of the Tree of Life ( Árvore da Vida) , a community-managed institution with 33,000 inhabitants from the Jardim Teresópolis region, with the support of FCA. There, Edu expressed the feeling of identity with his roots, acknowledging the good fruits harvested through the incentive to sports and artistic activities, training courses for young people and the generation of employment and income. “Actions such as those of the Tree of Life and those of my NGO effectively transform the lives of people, where leaders are discovered and opportunities are boldly generated for the construction of a more just world.”
When visiting the facilities of the Tree of Life, the young man learned about socio-cultural actions aimed at children, young people and adults in the community, and witnessed closely the activities of Cooperávore, a work and income generating cooperative that creates fashion items, such as handbags, backpacks and key rings, with reused materials from the automotive industry (such as safety belts and fabrics), donated by the FCA and associated companies. “Work like those of the cooperative, of FCA’s social area, make opportunities democratic and not by mere luck (as it happened with me) in order to become the rule for Brazil,” said Lyra.
When asked about dreams, Edu was direct: “to create the largest network of NGOs on the planet, create the museum of favelas (slums) and have a child with my wife Mayara”. With all this vitality, the tree of life of this young man has everything it needs to flourish.
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