BENEFITING: Community Empowerment Network
The 16 communities of the Eixo Forte are located between 20 and 40 kilometers from the city of Santarem, the third largest city in the Brazilian Amazon. The leading source of income for the families of the region today is the production of manioc, an edible root that is a staple food throughout the region. Despite the Eixo Forte’s proximity to Santarem, and increasing tourism in the region, 45% percent of the region’s residents earn less than $2 per day, and few economic opportunities exist for the local populations outside of subsistence agriculture.
The Rural Family Home of the Eixo Forte (CFR) is a three-year vocational school for rural young men and women that aims to improve their quality of life and opportunities for sustainable livelihoods. Offering a locally-relevant, interdisciplinary education, the CFR enables youth to act as rural professionals and to become better able to exercise their full rights and responsibilities as citizens. In this respect, the CFR seeks to improve the quality of life for farmers through the acquisition and application of expertise and scientific knowledge. Unlike the formal secondary education provided by the government, the CFR shows youth how they can choose vocations in their own communities that lead to the sustainability of the area, such as farming, livestock production, or tourism-related jobs.
In order to realize its potential and to become fully sustainable, the CFR needs improved facilities, including access to clean drinking water. The nearest drinking water is over 5 km from the CFR and needs to be carried there by the students and staff. The challenge of supplying drinking water contributes to staff frustration and burnout and complicates the staff's ability to provide a quality educational experience.
The CFR has already secured a donation for a 10,000-liter water tank, as well as the wood needed to construct the water tower. Students will help to design and construct the 50-meter-deep well, which will serve as a practical experience for teaching students construction methods and reinforcing mathematical skills, and students will contribute to the success of the project. The Parent Association for the CFR – comprised of impoverished families who make a living through subsistence farming – is unable to afford the rest of the costs of constructing a well and water distribution system. Our organization, the Community Empowerment Network, is committed to raising the the funds needed to pay for a professional well digger, for the pump, pipes, and other hardware, and for professional oversight to ensure the water system is built correctly and able to provide many years of service.
The CFR has the potential to become a critical resource for the region by strengthening the skills and resources of youth of the region so they are capable of building sustainable livelihoods for themselves. Without these skills, the youth of the Eixo Forte will continue to migrate from their communities in search of perceived better economic opportunities, resulting in the loss of their unique lifestyle, culture and ecological base.
For more details about the project, please visit: http://www.endruralpoverty.org/what-we-do/projects/rural-family-home/142-Programs/tourism/504-rural-family-home-casa-familiar-rural-details