FABRÍCIO MASCARENHAS, 21 YEARS OLD
Member of the V2 Theater Group & Viva a Vida’s Administrative Assistant
Fabricio was introduced to Viva a Vida two years ago by his Theatre Teachers Simone Requião and Tonny Ferreira; at the time he was a member of a theatre group in Itinga, a very violent, at-risk neighbourhood near Vila de Abrantes. With a change in local government, the group was closed down and its young members were left with nowhere to go, so Simone invited Fabricio and his colleagues to join Viva a Vida’s theatre group.
At the time, Viva a Vida was preparing its play “Sophia’s Dream” for presentation at the National Children and Young People’s Theatre Festival in Feira de Santana. However, we were still missing cast members for some of the parts. Uniting the competence and experience of the young people from Itinga with the enthusiasm of those from Abrantes made a huge difference to the brilliance and passion they all demonstrated at the festival.
Once he was able to return to theatre classes, now at Viva a Vida, Fabricio began to dedicate himself increasingly to the art he had chosen. The V2 Theatre Group not only attends theatre workshops, but also takes part in exchange visits with young people, ‘laboratory’ visits to social services, round table discussions and other activities that provide a basis for the discussions presented through their performances.
With all these new experiences, Fabricio notes that many things changed in his life “So many things have changed… mainly the way I think and act. I have good self-esteem, and I have learnt to value this… I can also say that I am an activist in support of minorities, there is discrimination everywhere, but however much I am an activist, when something happens to me or to a colleague when I am there, we still don’t react… we don’t believe that it’s really happening.. it is sad this still happens a lot in the 21st century. Thankfully, most of the people I live with are quite open-minded.” Fabricio adds that this view of life has become clearer for him since he joined the group “You might think I would say this, but Viva a Vida believes and supports young people’s empowerment”.
In relation to Viva a Vida’s work in LGBT rights, he notes that “it is always good to take part in debates run by the group Families for Diversity, since, however much time I spend in the LGBT environment, I can always learn more and help to deconstruct the opinions and labels imposed by others.” Following the Families for Diversity debate at Viva a Vida’s centre, Fabricio was responsible for representing Viva a Vida when the group made a presentation at the State College of Vila de Abrantes.
While Fabricio was still in Itinga he was studying at night and, with no theatre group, did not have much to do during the day. He lived with his father and was looking for work in order to contribute to the household income. In this sense, another aspect that has had a great influence on Fabricio’s life, is the fact that he has entered the world of work. His first employment opportunity emerged when Viva a Vida asked him to join its team as an intern and later as our Administrative Assistant, a post he has occupied for 18 months.
“Thanks to the project, I gained employment within the NGO, which is very flexible in terms of the theatre classes… I have had the opportunity to join Viva a Vida’s team and help the project from behind the scenes. It is important that the young people see how important this work is.”
Despite being a young beneficiary, we conducted the selection process as we would for any other post, and saw that Fabricio had the qualities required. Today, under the supervision of our Administrative Coordinator, he carries out tasks in relation to accounting, administrative and external duties. He has also contributed a great deal to our Communication activities and is responsible for updating social networks and preparing communication materials for publication. Fabricio was almost entirely responsible for putting our new website online; without him we still wouldn’t have this extremely important means of communication!
Furthermore, during the first term of 2017, we started running Cine Viva a Vida, an open door activity for young people in Abrantes. Today, Fabricio is responsible for mobilizing participants, preparing communication materials, choosing films and accompanying this activity. For us, this shows how far he has come and how much he has had to offer us in just 18 months!
The experience Fabricio has acquired has given him the maturity to represent the Association in extremely important arenas, such as municipal councils and schools, and wherever Viva a Vida needs to be represented.
All his involvement in administration is reflected in how he interacts with our other beneficiaries. The other students recognize him as a role model and are able to see that through a well-developed life plan they can get involved in other arenas, achieve their first job and still continue to dream and work through art.
Fabricio is another fantastic success story, through which we can both see a young person able to dedicate themselves to their art and witness Viva a Vida fulfilling its social role and strengthening its philosophy to develop its beneficiaries so that they can work in partnership with us to manage and run the organization!
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