A Dream for Brazil
By Renan Carneiro Ferreirinha, Harvard University
I have a dream: to pass along the opportunities and possibilities that were given to me. My wish is to create my own foundation to help identify and select kids in Brazil with big dreams and high potential and ensure that they get the support and motivation they need to achieve their goals.
I believe that, albeit the challenges, the mere act of gathering these kids together would already have had a very positive impact on them. In 2011, for example, my godfather sponsored me to spend my summer vacation studying English in Miami. Much more than language skills, I learned a lot from the cultural diversity I experienced. I made friends from Saudi Arabia, Russia and Angola who had very different life experiences from me but who also wanted to make a contribution on the world. I came back to Brazil as a totally different person, one that was able to evaluate and analyze problems from very different perspectives. This trip allowed me to change some misconceptions that I used to have and to help me respect even more the cultural differences in the world.
On the one hand, this experience confirmed my strong desire to pursue my undergraduate studies in a top school, where I am sure I will meet interesting people from even more diverse backgrounds.
On the other hand, it gave me a more pragmatic vision regarding how to turn my dream of helping Brazil youth into something concrete. I could make a powerful impact by simply creating ways to bring together smart people from all over Brazil or even the world and allowing them to exchange ideas about their ambitions, ideas and projects. I could go even further by creating mechanisms to guide these exchanges: scheduled events, suggestions for discussion topics, an online platform to record good ideas, etc.
I have already tested some of these concepts with my current colleagues in Rio de Janeiro. I lived one year in a high school fraternity with accomplished students from all over Brazil. These students shared a common goal - to study in a top university in Brazil or abroad – and all of us were committed to dedicate a lot of time towards making this goal a reality.
Besides trying to create ways to help my friends help one another, I am a careful observer of the ideas that work and the ideas that don't, and I believe this will be very important once I start my own foundation for helping high-potential kids achieve their goals. This foundation will be created with the mission of providing similar if not better opportunities and possibilities for the future generations. I hope to help build a better future for the world, starting by my country. I know that these are ambitious goals and that I still have a lot to learn and do before I can achieve this. But because of this dream, I want to study in a place full of possibilities. And that is what I hope to find in the next four years.
Article written in May 2013