Education in Salvador
Brazil boasts some of the best universities in Latin America, but passing the country's tough university entrance exam, the vestibular, is not an option for most low-income black Brazilians. In Bahia, approximately 70% of the population is of African descent, but more than 80% of those who graduate from university are white and come from the upper class.
Brazil is commonly known as the land of sun, soccer, and samba, but despite Afro-Brazilians' many contributions to Brazilian culture, they lag behind all other groups in leading social indicators in Brazil, and are the country's poorest, most disenfranchised people, stuck in a cycle of unofficial but overwhelming systemic discrimination.
Wealth distribution in Brazil is among the most unequal in the world. Poverty affects about 50 percent of the Brazilian population, and that same 50 percent divide up barely 15 percent of the national wealth, while the richest 10 percent hold more than half the nation’s wealth. Salvador, Bahia is Brazil’s third largest city and was historically the capital of the slave trade in the Americas. Today this Northeastern city is still predominantly Afro-descendant and the legacy of racism and inequality is deeply embedded in a society where class and race generally divide along the same lines.
In a situation where young people lack opportunity and already have so many odds stacked against them, education is one of the primary ways out. The chance to go to college gives these talented young people an incredible opportunity and a chance to move up out of poverty.