Edition 163 - The future is in the air

In Bahia, Rural Family Houses create a new generation of entrepreneurs, able to conduct business and become leaders in their communities. See the trajectories of young people who experience this reality

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written by Carlene Fontoura
photos by Almir Bindilatti

Visitors are soon surrounded by the pleasant aroma and natural freshness. There are many different scents – mint, coriander, parsley – causing a curious confusion of the senses. Your nose is called on to perceive odors, and your taste buds seem more acute. That green, well-tended garden is a source of pride for the family. “I’m pleased with the results. Thanks to my son’s hard work, we’re making more money and keeping the larder full,” says Iraci Pereira, Deian de Andrade’s mother. A resident of the Moenda community (in the Southern Bahia Lowlands county of Presidente Tancredo Neves), Deian is in charge of planting crops on their property.

Deian de Andrade on his father’s pineapple
farm: the family is pleased with what he has
learned, and the results he is getting from
his garden

A student at the Presidente Tancredo Neves Rural Family House (CFR-PTN), the 18-year-old cultivates his crops with methods he is learning at the teaching unit. Founded in 2002, CFR-PTN is celebrating 10 years of contribution to the education of new generations of rural entrepreneurs. One of them is Deian, who sells vegetables to two establishments in the community, earning a profit of BRL 500 per month from that business alone. “Here in my hometown, I can earn a decent living and am the master of my own fate,” says Deian.

Education Director Quionei Araújo points out that the main reason to celebrate a decade of CFR-PTN is “a total of 250 youths, including graduates and current students, benefiting from the education offered by this institution.” In 2009, the Bahia State Board of Education accredited the CFR-PTN to offer an Agricultural Technical Course in conjunction with the High School curriculum, making it the first institution in the North and Northeast of Brazil to receive this accreditation.

The CFR offers a three-year course with a curriculum focused on the realities of the countryside, and applies a methodology called Alternation Pedagogy. Students spend a week boarding at the CFR-PTN and two weeks on their properties, putting what they have learned into practice. “We weren’t using the right planting methods before. When our son explained things step by step, we started getting results,” says Iraci Pereira.

Deian de Andrade’s garden is part of the Integrated and Sustainable Agroecological Production (PAIS) program, a Bank of Brazil Foundation (FBB) “social technology.” Introduced at the CFR-PTN in 2011, this initiative is being reproduced through the students’ families to encourage farming methods that do not harm the environment. The FBB has supported the work of the Program for the Development and Growth Integrated with Sustainability of the Southern Bahia Lowlands Mosaic of Environmental Protection Areas (PDCIS) since 2008. Developed by the Odebrecht Foundation and its partners, the PDCIS aims to achieve a common, superior and noble goal: building a rural middle class structured in family units, and making them the protagonists of their own development and sustainable growth.

Synergy that gets results
The CFR-PTN works with the Presidente Tancredo Neves Farmers’ Cooperative (Coopatan) to form a Cassava and Fruit-Growing Strategic Alliance Cooperative. This way, young people receive training focused on the countryside, and farmers receive technical guidance, get their produce to market, and earn fair pay.

Shortly after he enrolled at the CFR-PTN, Deian encouraged his father to join Coopatan. Denilson de Andrade has reorganized his pineapple farm, and now he delivers the fruit directly to the cooperative, which has 214 other members. Jailton Ribeiro has had a similar experience. The young man graduated from the CFR-PTN in 2008, when he was 22. Today, he works alongside his father and brother, growing a variety of crops on 40 hectares of land. “Coopatan’s support is critical for getting our produce sold in supermarket chains,” says Jailton. “Thanks to the knowledge I acquired at the CFR, I’m getting good quality at a lower cost,” he adds.

Changing people’s lives
Just as it is for the CFR-PTN, 2012 is also a special year for the Igrapiúna Rural Family House (CFR-I). While celebrating five years of activity, the CFR-I is keeping to its mission of changing people’s lives. One example is Edilton Clemente, 27, who produces hearts-of-palm. A resident of the Mata do Sossego settlement in Igrapiúna, Bahia, he believes that his studies at the CFR have played a key role in his life choices. “Without that opportunity, I would have had to leave here to find work,” he guarantees.

Liana Souza, 20, graduated in 2011, and shares her experience. “By joining the CFR-I, I learned to appreciate my hometown,” she says. A resident of the Limoeiro community in Camamu, Bahia, Liana is growing cocoa, rubber and banana trees on her property.

In 2012, the CFR-I is also celebrating its partnerships with the Mitsubishi Corporation of Brazil, which is investing in the education of youth, and the National Bank for Economic and Social Development (BNDES), which has approved funds for the renovation of the school’s headquarters.

By allowing students to assimilate knowledge and put it into practice in their daily lives, the CFRs encapsulate the essence of one of the Odebrecht Entrepreneurial Technology’s guiding principles: Education through Work. “That way, future entrepreneurs are groomed to run their businesses responsibly and play a leading role in their own lives, while changing the local realities of their community,” says Odebrecht Foundation Educational Advisor Joana Almeida.

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Edition 163 - The future is in the air
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