Eliane Batista dos Santos after seeing approval of the UEL entrance exam
Education gave Eliane Batista dos Santos, aged 39, a new perspective on life: After 18 years living on the streets, she passed the entrance exam from the State University of Londrina (UEL), in the north of Paraná, to study Social Work.
The student took the test through the racial quota system and, on January 16th, he was thrilled to see his name on the list of those approved for the selection process:
“It’s a dream that I thought was impossible to achieve, but the world showed me the side of books”, he says.
O Eliane’s fresh start had the help of Trilha da Cidadania – an initiative by the City of Londrina to provide insertion and assistance for homeless people.
On the day the results were announced at Praça Willie Davids, the freshman was accompanied by social workers who supported her throughout the study process and were able to be part of the celebration.
Today, the freshman lives in a republic run by the Municipal Social Assistance Secretariat (SMAS), maintained in partnership with the Ministry of Missions and Worship (MMA).
After 18 years on the streets, woman is accepted into social work
The future university student has strong memories of when she decided to leave home, in 2006, and started living on the streets.
Eliane was 18 years old and left behind a history of violence and family disaffection. She lived at several addresses in Londrina, was a drug user and was imprisoned for 9 months.
Initially reluctant to leave the unhealthy life of the streets, he enlisted the help of social assistance professionals and psychologists and then decided to live in temporary shelters where he received daily food.
“I had no life expectancy. Other professionals appeared and cleared our minds a little”, he recalls.
In 2020, she decided to turn the key to knowledge. From the readings came the dream of helping people through Social Services.
“I looked for an evolutionary way to achieve this. Because of my life trajectory, of following closely what social work professionals are like, how they work. It’s a great overcoming”, he says.
At the end of December 2023, Eliane finished high school through the Youth and Adult Education (EJA) modality and began the Special Pre-University Course offered by UEL itself.
According to her, passing the entrance exam would be an unattainable dream because she did not feel prepared to compete with other candidates.
“I thought I wouldn’t make it. […] My competitors had more knowledge, but I proved the opposite”, he says.
Today, Eliane already has plans for when she is in college and even when she graduates. She recognizes that the beginning will be challenging, but sees it as an opportunity to meet new people.
“I have life projects to work with teenagers, the elderly and the homeless population. People on the streets because of my story, elderly people because I took care of my father when he was hospitalized and teenagers because we have to defend them, they are our future”, he explains.
Classes, according to the UEL calendar, should start in June.
Reunion with family
After leaving home, Eliane’s contact with her family was restricted. After accepting to change her life and seek help, she decided to reunite with her family.
“After all this happened, we are more united now, especially me and my older sister,” he says.
For her, having achieved so many things is an “overcoming” and she makes a point of being close to her family.
Since 2019, Londrina has had an assistance service for homeless people.
The Citizenship Trail is a methodology that brings together various public services offered by the City Hall, directly or through partnerships, to promote autonomy and resilience for people living on the streets. Understand in the illustration below:
According to psychologist Nayara Cristiny Gonçalves Aquino, the trail is a process of evolution of the rescued person.
“People who are homeless can access reception services through the Specialized Service for Homeless People (Centro POP) and follow the paths towards evolution”, he says.