One of the challenges faced by young people from underprivileged backgrounds is the difficulty of picturing themselves in different circumstances. Instead of appearing open to their influence and impact, the wider world can seem like something from which they are irredeemably excluded. As a result, their potential can suffer not so much from a lack of aspiration, as from a lack of awareness of the possible avenues available to them.
William's reflections on his adolescence are tinged with an almost overwhelming sense of what might have been. Born and raised in Cantagalo, one of the favelas in Rio de Janeiro where EduMais works, his talents once caught the eye of some of Brazil's most famous football clubs, such as Fluminense and Grêmio. This potential was to suffer, however, from a severe lack of guidance.
“My parents fought a lot, you know,” William tells me, “I didn't have anyone by my side to show me the right way . . . I made the wrong decisions.”