|CFR of Tancredo Neves receiving training on innovative agricultural techniques2|
As a consequence of geography, remote populations around Brazil often suffer a diminished quality of life due to limited vocational advancement opportunities. The communities of the Eixo Forte in the Amazon, isolated by distance and poor transportation in the impoverished north, see many of their youth leave in search of better employment and training. This generational exodus compounds the ongoing struggle with poverty. This is where the Rural Family Home (Casa Familiar Rural "CFR") comes in. Through improved training, infrastructure, and development models, the CFR's holistic community development approach empowers rural populations to lift themselves up, as well as to secure and sustain their way of life.
CFR projects in Brazil have taken off in recent years, and communities from the southern plains (pampas) to the central hinterland (sertaneja) are taking full advantage. In Lapa, Paraná, young adults undergo a three-week training rotation according to the alternate pedagogy (pedagogia da alternância) model adopted by their local CFR. For each week that students receive training in modern agricultural techniques, they spend two weeks in their respective villages implementing the new techniques and technologies. Local university researchers have taken notice, noting: “In the context of the current rural education system, [CFR] has become an important experience and should be praised for the degree of acceptance and support it has received from students and their families.”1
After undergoing intensive training, young adults take their new expertise back to their family homesteads, thereby putting their training into practice for their communities. Not only do participants come away from these experiences with greater tools to support themselves, they are also capable of sharing these new skills with their families and neighbors.
|Daniela Guedes on her family's farm, utilizing techniques she learned through the CFR3|
|Jailton Ribeiro cultivating pineapples in his home community4|
Up north in tropical Bahia, CFR alum Daniela Guedes is cultivating soy crops in more economically sustainable ways. Just as importantly, she perceives new opportunities opening up for her due to her new expertise: "Before, I had no vision for the future. But that all changed when I was given the chance at this selective training program."
Down the road, Jailton Ribeiro, another graduate of an alternate pedagogy apprenticeship, is taking the next steps toward building a sustainable future for his community. He sees the CFR's program as having imparted not only agricultural principles, but also personal ones: "Our farms are on the right path, and I owe this to CFR. The program invested in my development as a farmer and as a person."
In remote locales, such vocational training and opportunities for growth can be a lifeline to sustaining a community's way of life. The Rural Family Home of the Eixo Forte aims to have the same impact on its members and has recently completed the first steps toward building the infrastructure it needs to operate effectively. Like those of Lapa and Bahia, residents of the Eixo Forte have broadly embraced the CFR's model of sustainable community growth. They recognize that youth retention and agricultural innovation are key, and just as importantly, they recognize that there is a need to invigorate the age-old learning model with forward-thinking educational opportunities for the upcoming generation. Just as Daniela and Jailton care for the future of their land, the families of the Eixo Forte look to care for theirs by creating similar opportunities for empowerment.