By making a choice, it is always expected to get it right. And even when that doesn’t happen, a lesson is learned. This happened to Benivaldo dos Santos, 24 years old. In 2008, he decided to join the President Tancredo Neves Rural Family House (Casa Familiar Rural de Presidente Tancredo Neves - CFR-PTN), and changed his story. This way, he abandoned the idea of migrating to an urban center.
“I don’t want to leave the area, I have a strong trust bond with my community. They believe in me. I didn’t have any dreams, and, in the last few years, I have earned many things, it’s very rewarding”, says the youth, who lives in the Ouro Preto community, located at the Presidente Tancredo Neves municipality, in the state of Bahia.
During his stay in CFR-PTN, Benivaldo developed three educational projects: two of banana plantations and one of passion fruit. The first one wasn’t successful because of a drought that affected the region, but the success of the following projects was rewarding. “My second project for banana plantation was elected one of the top 10 of the class because of its productivity. The passion fruit one had even better results: I became a reference in the community. Today, I am responsible for the practical lessons for the current students at CFR-PTN on this theme”, he says.
With the completion of his training, in 2010, Benivaldo continued with the crops and became Vegetable Production Leader at the Novo Horizonte Farm, where both the CFR-PTN and the President Tancredo Neves Rural Producers Cooperative (Cooperativa dos Produtores Rurais de Presidente Tancredo Neves – Coopatan) are located, of which he’s been an associate for a year. “Coopatan guarantees the right destination for my production. This way, I have a greater financial return”, he highlights. Coopatan, like CFR-PTN, is part of the Integrated and Sustainable Development Program of the Environmental Protection Areas Mosaic of Southern Bahia (Programa de Desenvolvimento Integrado e Sustentável do Mosaico de áreas de Proteção Ambiental do Baixo Sul da Bahia – PDIS), supported by Odebrecht Foundation.
Benivaldo doesn’t regret the decisions he made. With work and dedication, he managed to multiply his income. “I used to work as a day laborer and earned R$ 100.00 a month. Now I earn as much as R$ 1,400.00”. He plans on buying 10 hectares of land for his family and, after making it productive, enroll in the Agronomy course at college. “I am following my vocation. The choices I’ve made have changed my life. I am happy because I have my piece of land and projects that are successful”, he says.