Fulfilling Dreams – Why We Created a Study Support Programme for Children

July 2, 2021

Explore the origins of Companhia do Estudo and the difference it is making to children’s lives.

Critical Software Image

Companhia do Estudo is an initiative which aims to inspire young students from about 9 to 12 years old, coming from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Launched in April, we’re pleased to say that it has been a great success, so much so that we’re doing it all again next year!

Why now? The pandemic and related restrictions have increased inequalities in access to education. Companhia do Estudo was formed as a way to respond to those challenges and continue to positively impact the communities in which we operate. 

In the last three months, 30 Critical employees have supported over 30 young students from five public schools and two non-profit organisations in Portugal, in the regions where we have offices.

The goal goes beyond supporting and encouraging the study of subjects taught in school. It develops interpersonal skills, such as self-confidence and self-esteem, which are necessary to achieve success not only in education but in the wider world. 

The Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences of the University of Porto (FPCEUP) supported this initiative by helping with project design and preparing and monitoring participating mentors. The initiative also received support from Inovação Social Portugal who identified project implementation opportunities.

Patrícia Garcia, who leads the Companhia do Estudo initiative at Critical Software, commented: "We know the Covid-19 situation has aggravated existing social inequalities, especially when it comes to accessing education. As such, we were keen to contribute in any way we could to help children from disadvantaged backgrounds succeed at school despite the circumstances. Feedback about the scheme has been very positive so far and there have already been visible results in terms of the children's motivation and determination to achieve. We’re extremely satisfied and are keen to continue to grow internally. In future, we’d like to challenge other companies, and even the community in general, to join Companhia do Estudo.”

Marta Ávila is a Senior Project Manager and was the first person to join the initiative as a mentor. So far, she has worked with her mentee to improve their performance in English, Earth Science and History.

Inspired by her mother, a life-long teacher, Marta has embraced this challenge with open arms: "It's been an adventure! I was very nervous about meeting my mentee – but then it turned out to be very easy. Children are good at making conversation. The progress made so far has been incredible, in terms of consolidating our knowledge as well as our emotional bond and connection."

Although Companhia do Estudo has already made a great contribution to the lives of children who have participated in the scheme, we at Critical realise that – in order to continue making a positive difference to the communities around us – there is room to enhance the work we’ve done so far.

"We know that the results won’t appear overnight, but we’re also aware of our goals and want to make sure that we have the determination, acumen and patience to achieve them," considered Patricia Garcia.

Companhia do Estudo runs until the end of the current school year in Lisbon, Coimbra, Porto, Tomar and Viseu, and is due to continue next year.