By Jenna Harvey, Director of International Development
Cirilo doesn’t sit still. Although class starts at 8 a.m., you will often find him at the WAVS School around 7 a.m., preparing for his work as the school’s lead welding instructor. And the day job isn’t enough. Cirilo is also a musician with a growing fan base.
Earlier this year, he released his first album, Ña Deus Obrigadu (Thank you, My Lord), and held an album release party at the WAVS School in Canchungo with more than 600 people in attendance from the surrounding towns and villages. Some in the crowd even came from the capital, Bissau, more than an hour and a half away. Cirilo also performed at the 2017 WAVS school graduation ceremony in January.
His music and work ethic reflect his desire to impact his students’ lives – both through skills development and spiritual growth.
“Our school doesn’t just provide training to improve the lives of students, but it gives life through the proclamation of the Gospel,” Cirilo said.
Cirilo works alongside Amona, a welding assistant teacher at the school, and Jason, the welding program mentor.
Cirilo started his job in October 2012 when the welding program first began and has helped develop it into the strong program that it is today. He has also helped increase the amount of work that the welding students do for people in the community who pay the school to build doors, windows and security gates. The school earns a small amount of revenue from this work while the students receive the benefit of real-world, hands-on experience. Among hundreds of projects, Cirilo has helped lead the students in the construction of a security gate around a local bank, build a playground at a local primary school and a construct a roof over a water filter factory.
Before coming to teach at the school, Cirilo studied welding at another vocational school call CIFAP. After graduating in 2006, he worked at a company in Bissau for a few years. He saw the WAVS School while passing it on the road before, but didn’t know much about it.
One day, his motorcycle broke down not too far from the school and he stayed the night at a local church. The director of the WAVS school had heard about Cirilo through church and started talking to him about coming to start a welding program at the school. At first, Cirilo didn’t want to leave Bissau to come to the school in Canchungo, but the director kept proposing the idea to him over a period of more than two years. After taking to pray about the possibility seriously, he accepted the job because he wanted to work in a Christian environment and knew that the name of Jesus was being proclaimed in the school.
Cirilo has also pursued his singing career on the side. He has enjoyed singing since he was little, and he later learned to play guitar in church. While living in Bissau, Cirilo first performed formally in a vocal group called “Vocalistas di Gloria.” After coming to Canchungo to teach at the WAVS School, because of the distance, he had to leave the group. But because of his love for singing, performing, and writing music as a tool to demonstrate the love of God, he continued to pursue his musical career. Cirilo wrote most of the songs on his album himself. Several of the songs are written in Fula, a tribal language spoken in Guinea-Bissau, so that his music could have a broader reach.
The school is grateful it has dedicated teachers, like Cirilo, who are not only providing life-changing job skills to the community of Canchungo, but who are also Jesus’ hands and feet in the community.
Between now and the end of June, we invite you to partner with us so we can train even more students in the welding course. There are two ways you can give:
1) Sponsor a teacher
Before the end of June, we are looking for seven people to help sponsor Cirilo, the lead welding teacher, so we can equip more students with life-changing job skills. As a WAVS Teacher Sponsor, you will receive personal updates from Cirilo about how your investment is impacting him and the lives of his students.
2) Give to the WAVS welding program
You can make a one-time gift of any amount before the end of June to help train more welding students. It costs $500 to equip one student with the skills needed to provide for himself and his family for a lifetime.