Class of 2021
32 / São Paulo, Brazil
The Brazilian community leader tackling violence with culture, art and culinary initiatives
Born and raised in Campo Limpo on the outskirts of southern São Paulo, Thiago Vinícius De Paula Da Silva became as accustomed to the sound of gunshots as he did the shouts from football games and music of the carnival. Exposed to violence from a young age, he quickly realised his role in transforming communities – something he was able to do through food and culture. At 15 years old, he started a project to turn street trash into useful products, while educating his community on upscaling waste. At 20, he helped set up a community bank, providing microcredit to residents and entrepreneurs of the region.
In 2012, Thiago Vinícius created Agência Solano Trindade, a network of entrepreneurs from the outskirts of São Paulo that connects culture, arts, teaching programmes and culinary initiatives to form an inspiring motor for development within a complex community. Through several projects, the agency helps entrepreneurs find financial sustainability, giving them a stable income early in life so that they never have to turn down darker avenues. It also runs an organic market and restaurant, both of which educate consumers on healthy, organic ways to eat. During the pandemic, Thiago Vinícius gained even more respect from his community by helping to feed those in need in the toughest days of the emergency.
“Our job is to reach young people before guns come into their lives.” – Thiago Vinícius De Paula Da Silva