How does CEN make its mission a reality? By working directly with individuals in the communities we support. Fifteen community members from Suruacá, Maguary, and Jamaraquá participated in the cCLEAR Proof of Concept Project to build the skills needed to reach their goals.
In Suruacá, five women have identified sewing as the reliable, marketable skill they want to harness. Dona Maria Eugete, Nilce Corrêa, and Regina Souza all hope to improve their sewing skills, enabling them to sew in their homes on demand for the local market, and thus supplement their families' incomes. Luciene Sousa hopes to create a workshop for lingerie sold to the local market, and Rosivania Costa wants to establish a family sewing business.
Although each of these women has different economic challenges and goals, they all faced a common obstacle in their lack of business experience. They were unsure how to establish or expand their current business. Through a series of guided activities, CEN is helping these women reach their goals. They started by creating T-shirts; this project helped them gain confidence in their skills. Then the women each created a history of items they had made and sold to identify their current market. More recently, the women have been taking an inventory of the materials they have to accurately judge their resources, and they have also been working on designing a line of products. In the meantime, a small garden they planted at the beginning of the project reminds them of their goals and the time it takes for seeds to turn into blossoms.
Rosivania wants to create a family business selling clothes and accessories in the local communities as well as in the region's cities. Although she is a teacher of arts and Portuguese, her dream is to work with cloth handicrafts. She has already proved herself to be a talented seamstress and embroiderer; she has even masterfully copied designs from popular television shows. However, she is unsure how to market and distribute her products in a cost-effective manner. Because of her current work commitments, it's hard to find time to consistently produce new items. In addition to the activities CEN has completed with all of the women, CEN also asked Rosivania to identify what each person in her family could do to support the business and why they were suited to it. This helped Rosivania identify skills within her family and begin to manage her family's production successfully.
CEN is also working with Magarete Lima, a baker in Suruacá. Although she has a good market for her bread in Suruacá, Magarete's family was eating her profits. With CEN's help, she started keeping careful records of her production and sales. Using this information, she has reduced the amount of loaves she bakes to better meet demand. Recently, Magarete has experimented with baking different types of bread and with selling it at new venues, such as soccer matches, both of which increased her profits. Currently, she is experimenting with promotion schemes to attract new customers.
Salu Assunção dreams of having a successful chicken farm, but had no idea of how to get started. With CEN's encouragement and guidance, he started by researching his expenses and creating a budget. Although at first he was overwhelmed by the cost of running a full-sized farm, with CEN's guidance he realized that he could start small and build toward his goal of having 100 chickens. He purchased 15 chickens recently. He will sell one and use the proceeds to buy feed for the remaining 14 to help them grow faster. Using these tools, Salu will be able to judge his costs and profit and gradually scale up his business.
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