WAVS graduate: 'God has given me the power to be a welder'


For seven years, Nilton Gomes worked as an apprentice at a small welding shop. But he was mostly given odd-jobs and didn't receive much real training. At this rate, Nilton knew he would never be ready to start his own shop.

So in October 2016, he enrolled in the WAVS School’s welding program. Nilton quickly discovered that he had been missing out on a lot.

“With the things that I’m learning at the school, I can suggest better ideas than what we did in the past at the shop,” he said. “We have made gates and window security gates. I’ve used skills that I learned at the school to help improve the quality and design of our work.”

Nilton’s teachers recognized his skill, strong work ethic, and positive attitude. After completing the nine-month welding course, they invited Nilton to stay on for a second year as one of the program’s three welding interns.

Nilton working on a truss for    a roof the welding students built   .

Nilton working on a truss for a roof the welding students built.

The welding department had recently started the internship program to help keep up with the growing demand for its services. There were more project requests coming in from clients in the community than the department could handle with just its students and teachers. The interns not only gain valuable work experience, but they also generate revenue for the school so that it doesn’t have to completely rely on outside funding.

In June, Nilton completed his internship and has received a starter kit of welding tools through the WAVS New Entrepreneurs Program.

Nilton plans to open his own welding shop in the future. His older brother, who had encouraged him to study at the school, is helping him find a generator so he can make his dreams a reality.

“I don’t just want to do my work quickly,” Nilton said. “I want to do my work with love. God has given me the power to be a welder.”

Left to Right: Erikson, Nilton & Sergio receiving their starter kits through the WAVS New Entrepreneurs Program.

Left to Right: Erikson, Nilton & Sergio receiving their starter kits through the WAVS New Entrepreneurs Program.


This holiday season, we invite you to Spark Opportunity for a future welding entrepreneur. Your gift today will help train 20 young people, like Nilton, in the next school year with the skills they need to provide for themselves and their families — for the rest of their lives. Qualifying graduates will also receive welding starter kits through the WAVS New Entrepreneurs Program.

WAVS has partnered with the nonprofit One Day's Wages to raise $30,000 before the end of the year to train new welding students. One Day’s Wages will match every donation made through December 31 — dollar for dollar — up to $15,000!

They are ready. Give them the opportunity.

A few of the welding department's favorite things: church benches, roofs, security gates

A significant advantage for the students in the welding program at the WAVS School is that they get practical, hands-on welding experience in addition to their classroom instruction. The school is often hired by businesses and residents in the community to do projects for them. This real-life experience teaches students the value of doing quality work and allows them to hone their skills for future employment. The revenue from the work also helps offset the cost of the program since the students' tuition only covers about 25% of the total cost of the program.

This last semester, the welding program was very busy with projects! Even with classes for this semester now complete, many students have chosen to come to the school while on vacation so they can continue working because there are still projects to be completed!

Here are just a few of the projects that have been completed or are in progress from this semester:

  • Church Benches: These benches were made for a church in Cadjens, a small village about 30 minutes outside Canchungo. 

  • Security Gates: This is one of the most popular and common items that the students build. They are used to cover windows so they can be left open at night, enclose verandas so that these open-air porches are secure or build a fence around a house or compound. This specific gate was for a woman in the community named Ines, that everyone calls Dona Ines, which means Grandma Ines. 

  • Roof for local agriculture co-op: The roof was part of a project to build a cashew drying warehouse that was built just down the road from the school at a local co-op called COAJOQ. The project was commissioned by Steves JC, a large engineering company that is also building the new parking complex at the national airport.  Steves JC commissioned these same cashew drying warehouses in different regions around the country. The WAVS School was the last contractor to get a contract, but was able to finish the roof faster than the other four roof contractors. The Steves JC foreman said that the roof the WAVS students built was the best in quality.

This holiday season, you can help equip more welding students with life-changing job skills. We invite you to give the Gift of Education with a year-end tax-deductible gift. This gift will help train 100 students in the first semester of 2018.

Each student pays tuition for the courses they take, but it only covers 25% of the total cost. The remainder of the costs are covered by generous donors like you. Help us raise $10,000 by December 31st to cover the remaining costs of the courses for these dedicated students. Any amount you give will help reach this goal!

Give the gift of Education.

Give Opportunity. Give Hope.

WAVS School graduate: "I'm ready. If there's an opportunity, I can go for it."

Crouching under a large cashew tree beside a dirt road, Agusto carefully welded together two square rods of metal. Chickens pecked at the ground around him. Neighbors wandered about. This is his workshop.


Agusto was able to attend the WAVS School because of Teacher Sponsors who help keep tuition affordable while allowing the school to grow and improve every year.

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 like Agusto.

Today, you can sponsor a welding teacher or make one-time gift to support students like Agusto. It costs $500 to train one student for a lifetime.

A few years ago, Agusto wasn’t sure how he was going to earn a living in Guinea-Bissau, one of the world’s smallest and poorest countries. Here, the education system is in crumbles and there are few paying jobs. Agusto knew that it doesn’t take much to set up your own business in Guinea-Bissau – just some tools and some job skills. But many young people like himself who are ready and eager to work don’t have the opportunity to get those basic things.

One day, his younger brother told him about the WAVS School and its welding program. He encouraged him to enroll in the nine-month course. Agusto said to himself: “OK, I’m ready. If there’s an opportunity. I can go for it.”

After completing the course and purchasing a set of quality, affordable tools through the school’s New Entrepreneurs Program, Agusto started working.

“All the skills that I’m using now, I got them from the school,” Agusto said. “How to work with the tools, how to work with the machines – all these skills I learned from the school.”

He’s now able to provide for his younger siblings and his mother, all of whom depend on him.

“I’m so proud of myself because now I have my own shop,” Agusto said. “I don’t have to go out there to ask people for money.”

And Agusto says he learned more than just a job skill. He also grew in his faith.

“I will never forget to thank God for giving me the opportunity to study in this school,” he said. “The school has a good program that helped me progress in a technical way and spiritual way, as well.”

Agusto was able to attend the WAVS School because of Teacher Sponsors who help keep tuition affordable while allowing the school to grow and improve every year.

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 like Agusto. 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.

Welding - A Heartfelt Desire

By: Brian Granse

I was called by God to join the team that went to Guinea Bissau in February 2017. This trip was my very first time overseas. God placed the WAVS School, out of the other exposure trip opportunities, as a special interest to me. I suppose part of that reason is that it’s a vocational school that offers welding as one of its main courses. 

Doing some welding in the WAVS Shop 

Welding was my heartfelt desire that I first became aware of in high school, and now I have been working in manufacturing for 22 years as a welder. With that said, and having my manufacturing skills/experience, I was really impressed with the equipment resources that are present in the welding and machine shop at the WAVS school. I really wasn’t expecting to see that type of equipment available for the students to learn from! While I toured the welding department I remember saying a few times that I don’t even have such a nice mig welder of my own, and that you can’t even find what they have at Home Depot (and Home Depot has some nice machines). The machine shop in the welding department was truly outfitted to be able to manufacture anything from steel that could possibly be needed, whether it’s of thin or thick steel! Again the available equipment is beyond what I had expected. Any student that has the opportunity to attend this school is blessed. It was also comforting to witness safety being used, for instance PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) from the instructors and students. Things like safety glasses, gloves and earplugs were all in use!

Helping to install some security gates with the welding students

The staff of the school was another standout for me. I did attend a few of the English classes where I learned how well Mario (a native to that area and a WAVS teacher) spoke.  He was very fluent in English.  No joke, even I could learn some things about English in his classroom (Don’t tell anyone, but I felt exposed. haha!)

Drawing near to our departure from Africa we got to tour Bissau.  It was really cool to see the land where the new WAVS campus will be.  It’s about 40 miles from the current WAVS school.  Before visiting the land, we had the chance to meet and be shown around a private university that is about a mile away from the new school site. It was a very friendly interaction from the university’s director and he even went with us to the new WAVS school site. These two schools will compliment each other with the courses available.

All in all, during the two weeks of exposure from landing in Dakar to leaving Africa our team was very well taken care of by a strong team that is composed of from the WAVS staff, and other missionaries.  They are just super great people.

I will be a contributor to the workings and financial support of this school over the long run.

I am looking forward to another trip.

English Conversation Club