From poverty to prison to a Global Shapers platform, a young Brazilian brings unprecedented change

The Global Shapers Community is a network of more than 8,000 inspiring young people under the age of 30, who are working together to tackle local, regional and global challenges.

The impact.

Emerson Ferreira, looking for a way out of poverty, got caught up in drug trafficking and spent five years of his life in a federal prison in Brazil. Deeply confronted by the inmates´ living conditions, he became determined to prevent other young Brazilians from suffering the same fate. During his prison sentence, he earned two university degrees – one in criminology and one in psychology.
Because of his will to create positive change, Emerson was recruited to join the World Economic Forum´s the Global Shapers Community upon his release from prison.

What's the challenge?

Our generation has inherited enormous global challenges, but has the ability to confront the status quo and offer youth-led solutions for change. To provide a platform for young people to self-organize and address the specific needs of their community – the World Economic Forum founded the the Global Shapers Community.
Becoming a Shaper and joining the Global Shapers Community was a turning point for Emerson. It offered him a platform to crowdsource ideas and scale the impact of his work. Together with his fellow Global Shaper hub members, Emerson produced a series of 360-degree virtual reality videos to raise the public’s awareness on the inhumane conditions in Brazil’s prisons, which have collectively received millions of views.
At the most recent SHAPE event in Latin America, Emerson brought 250 Shapers to his favela to entirely refurbish the local school, providing a clean, green and healthy learning space as a way to deter children from resorting to violence.

Our approach.

The Global Shapers Community is a network of inspiring young people under the age of 30 working together to address local, regional and global challenges. The Global Shapers Community includes 10,000 members and alumni in over 400 hubs located in more than 150 countries and territories. In each city, teams of Shapers self-organize to create projects that address the needs of their community. The Shaper´s projects are wide-ranging – from responding to disasters to fighting climate change, poverty and building inclusive communities. Shapers are diverse in expertise, education, income and race, but are united by their desire to bring about change.

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Global Shapers launched Voice for the Planet at the World Economic Forum annual meeting in Davos in 2019. The project aims to showcase the growing movement of people around the world calling for urgent global action to address the current crisis for nature.

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How can you get involved?

The Forum’s contribution to the Global Shapers Community includes significant financial and in-kind contributions for operational support including staff time, technology tools and opportunities for interaction and collaboration with its membership network. You can help support, finance, grow and increase this initiative, and its impact on young people and their communities around the world.

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