The mother of a four year old girl, Darlei Sueine, earned her living as a sandwich vendor in Praia do Forte, 80 kilometers from Salvador, when she decided to move to another city, leave her daughter with an aunt, and pursue her dream of completing a program in the culinary arts. Her story is similar to those of her 36 colleagues, young people from communities located throughout Bahia that just completed the first Gastromotiva course delivered in Salvador, offered for free in partnership with UNIFACS.
Gastromotiva, an NGO that provides professional training courses to young people from socially vulnerable backgrounds, was started in 2006. In 2008, the program began working with Universidade Anhembi Morumbi University and has trained more than 1,200 professionals. More than 2,000 applications were received for 36 seats in the program. Selected students complete 280 hours of courses in basic skills, such as confectionery, bakery and eco-gastronomy. In addition, they take classes in citizenship, food hygiene and safety, professional behavior and other disciplines. The initiative was launched at UNIFACS in 2014 and more than 90 percent of the students who started the program graduated.
Laureate Brazil’s director of hospitality management and culinary arts, Rosa Moraes, was thrilled with the life stories and the new opportunities created for the graduates. "They are beautiful and overwhelming stories, but also show people facing life's challenges with great vigor. In many cases, the students just needed someone to reach out to them for them to be able to get started. And that's what everyone involved in the project has done," she said.
Gastromotiva’s next step is to promote the integration of the graduates into the labor market. On this mission, the NGO has the support of project partners in the local labor market. Based on the past success of graduates from the program, many companies are interested in offering these great students with career opportunities.
This article has been translated into English to be shared on the Laureate International Universities website.