My name is Jessica Medeiros, I was born in Rio de Janeiro in Lixaofavela. I live in a place where there has always been a strong presence of gangs. Daily shootings between police and drug gangs is part of life in my favela. When I was younger I got involved with a drug gang. I transported weapons and drugs from one place to another. At one point I realized this wasn’t the life I wanted for myself and I chose to step out.
This wasn’t easy, since I still lived in the favela and it took a few years to finally get into the right mindset. At times I still have to fight against temptation.
Now I’m a football trainer working with a project called Familia Caracol in another favela, Complexo da Penha. I lead football training sessions twice a week. I love the kids and I feel a big responsibility towards them. They call me their ‘father’.
Every day I try to be a better role model for them, that isn’t easy. I want to show them that regardless of the difficulties I’ve encountered and still facing, I can create a good life for myself.
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Jessica Medeiros, 1991
Football trainer Familia Caracol