As an apprentice, Bruno never even opened an engine. But WAVS gave him the skills he needed to succeed.

As a little boy in Guinea-Bissau, Bruno would sit in class daydreaming of one day becoming a famous soccer player like the ones pictured on the front of a notebook he brought to school every day.  But when he would get home, Bruno’s mom would push him out the door to go learn from the auto mechanics in the shop across the street while she struggled to support her family by raising pigs.

She wanted her youngest child to have the practical job skills she knew he would need in order to survive in Guinea-Bissau, one of the poorest countries in the world. Bruno, now 22, is thankful for his mother’s tough love.

“I’m really happy my Mom knew better and encouraged me to do this,” he said.

At the age of 12, Bruno's mother passed away. His father had died a few years earlier. But both parents left a legacy that influenced him -- his mother through her encouragement to learn job skills, and his father through the example he set by working as an engineer for the city’s power department.

These days, such engineering jobs are hard to come by. Following the 11-year war for independence, the expulsion of colonial powers, a civil war, and ongoing governmental power struggles over the last 30 years, not much infrastructure is left in the country. Reliable electricity is virtually non-existent.

But Bruno has found a way to make the most of the life he has been given. Recently, he completed an auto mechanics course at the WAVS School and he now works for a friend in a small thatch-covered roadside shop not far from his childhood home.

Read the rest of Bruno's story

Help more students like Bruno achieve their dreams


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