Vocation empowers young people to develop their life projects

Discover the work of this iFood partner NGO that carries out education and employability projects

Among the synonyms of the word “vocation”, we find talent. Therefore, nothing more appropriate than an organization that seeks to break the cycle of poverty by awakening talents among children, adolescents and young people to have adopted this name: Vocation.

“Education is an essential element for building a better future”, says Josmael Castanho, operations director at Vocação. “It is the basis for the social, economic and political development of a country and plays a fundamental role in training individuals capable of contributing positively to society.”

The NGO was founded in 1967 by a group of 27 businessmen from São Paulo, and to date it has impacted the lives of more than 390,000 people. Its initial purpose was to carry out training programs for residents of favelas, tenements and villages.

The first years of Vocation were dedicated to the development of neighborhood communities, to enable more efficient urbanization for the city.

When immersing themselves in these communities, the NGO leaders detected the need to support local residents who ended up caring for the children of mothers who worked outside the home.

The women in this caregiving solidarity network were then given pedagogical guidance so that they could become true educators.

Education and employability of young people

From the 2000s onwards, Vocação focused its strategy on programs for children, teenagers and young people, prioritizing culture, citizenship, employability and education for these people. The aim is to prepare them, qualify them and give them job and income opportunities.

The NGO, then, specialized in channeling forces to enhance the potential of young people. It currently operates in an ecosystem that includes more than 230 training organizations, involving other non-governmental organizations, universities, institutions, public facilities and companies.

“We work in a network with the socio-emotional and technical training of young people, with the aim of minimizing gaps in schooling and the deficit in preparation for the world of work”, defines Josmael.

Its programs are divided into age groups. With children and adolescents aged 6 to 15, for example, activities are carried out that expand their cultural universe to build life projects.

In the case of young people, one of the guidelines is inclusion in the job market, with internship and Young Apprentice programs.

In the area of professional guidance, there is a concern to sensitize recruiters and executives from partner companies so that they can effectively generate job and income opportunities. According to Josmael, the training mission requires continuity in the corporate environment.

In 2022 alone, 41,738 people were impacted by socio-emotional and technical training programs and projects and insertion into work and income opportunities.

Convergence of visions

The partnership with iFood, which began in February 2022, is strategic for the NGO to achieve goals and expand the reach of its initiatives, highlights Josmael.

“We know the iFood's concern with education and sustainability for the next generations, and this vision is in synergy with the purpose of Vocation”, states the operations director. “Having a leading partner and reference in its segment, in addition to the financial contribution and involvement in our programs and projects, helps to expand our network of contacts, opening doors to potential new partners.”

In 2022, Vocation raised R$ 47,798.01 in donations via the iFood app. Furthermore, 30 of the young people who participate in the NGO's programs are mentored by company employees.

Expansion of horizons

This year, the organization projects progress in its actions. Among them, it plans to increase the number of young people impacted to 12 thousand and the number of employing companies to 130 – today there are 97.

This vocation for growth has its reasons for being. “There is still great inequality in access to quality education, especially for the most vulnerable populations”, highlights Josmael. Therefore, there is indeed a lot of work ahead.

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