2005 YOUTH AWARD
Share a Bike
Seventeen-year-old Cristiano Fedrigo lives among the impoverished quarry workers and their families in the hamlet of Morro da Pedra (Mountain of Stone) near Taquara, Brazil. Cristiano has chosen to rise above the limitations of poverty by creating helpful solutions for himself and other young people in his community.
Cristiano and most of his classmates live far away from their bus stops. When he was just 12 years old, Fedrigo responded to this problem by creating the “Share a Bike” program. He acquired donated bicycles to help kids in his community get to the bus stop on time. A year later, with the help of his physical education teacher, he initiated swim lessons to keep children in his community from drowning in the quarry swim holes. Cristiano realized his peers needed more than safety and convenience to lift themselves out of poverty so he approached some Americans living in the area and asked them to teach him and the children in his community to speak English.
Additionally, Cristiano led a group of teens and young adults to convert a deserted factory into an indoor soccer arena, providing a drug and violence free outlet for the local youth. Inspired by Cristiano’s acts of compassion, a local grocer collects donations for hundreds of soccer balls every year and has them distributed to children on Christmas Day. Dentists and doctors near Cristiano’s community have lowered their prices, providing more affordable care.
Still, Morro da Pedra needs its own doctor and Cristiano aspires to fill that gap. His goal is to attend the university and become a medical doctor with a specialty in chiropractic medicine, a necessity in treating impoverished children and adults forced by economics to work in the stone quarries. Cristiano is determined to return to his hamlet of Morro da Pedra, administer medical care, and continue to help his people in any way that he is able.