What are the perspectives for the future? What is required to develop your skills with quality? Is it necessary to live in a big city to lead a dignified life? Three years ago, these were some of the questions raised by Quésia Santos, age 18 and resident of the community Km 29, located in the municipality of Piraí do Norte, Bahia. Quésia, who always saw her cousins and friends finish high school and move to the urban centers, now wants to remain in the rural zone, together with her family.
Her dream began to come true when two monitors and the Teaching Director of the Igrapiúna (CFR-I) Rural Family Home visited her former school to present the educational proposal of CFR-I – a teaching unit associated with the Bahia Southern Lowlands Environmental Protection Area Mosaic Program for Development and Growth Integrated with Sustainability (PDCIS), supported by the Odebrecht Foundation and public and private partners. “I’ll remember this moment for ever,” said Quésia. “When I got home, I told my parents about the institution. At first, they didn’t believe me. We went to visit the facility and I was one of the students selected,” she recalled.
A 3rd year student, the young woman revealed that after the Family Home,, she began to see the rural region with different eyes and realized that her property was a business. Cacao, soursop, banana and beans are some of the crops grown by her family. “Together with this, I planted a hectare of heart of palm and I’ll bring in the first harvest in November of this year,” she said. “I look at my project and I see it as a business, since it is through it that I can begin my life as a rural entrepreneur.”
Her example influenced her sister Camila Santos, who is currently completing her second year at CFR-I. “I realized that the knowledge acquired here can take me farther than I ever imagined,” said Camila. “Today, I help my sister and I added one more hectare of heart of palm to her project. We’ll become partners,” she said.
When questioned about what she wants to do after graduating from the course, Quésia stated that she plans to become a member of the Bahia Southern Lowlands Heart of Palm Producers’ Cooperative (COOPALM), which is also part of PDCIS. Besides this, she also wants to change the reality of the youth from her region. “I am an agent of transformation for my family, the community and the place I live,” she said. “I want everyone to realize that they don’t need to move to the city to work, that remaining in the rural region is also an option. The best option.”