The 16 communities of the Eixo Forte are located between 20 to 40 kilometers from the city of Santarém, 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 Santarém, 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 (Casa Familiar Rural or 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 farmers' quality of life 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 kilometers 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 objectives of the Rural Family Home Artesian Well Project are to:
- Construct a semi-artesian well to extract groundwater approximately 164 feet (50 meters) deep in order to provide the Rural Family Home with a critical piece of infrastructure it needs to become sustainable and capable of becoming an educational alternative for the youth of the Eixo Forte
- Provide clean drinking water to students, staff, and the neighboring community’s 200 residents, and provide water for irrigation of the facility's test fields and greenhouse
- Serve as a practical exercise for teaching the students construction methods and reinforce arithmetic skills
The original estimate for the total cost of the project was $14,743. Due to cost savings identified by the CFR staff, as well as the strengthening value of the U.S. dollar, the budget has been revised to $9,352. Of this amount, $4,463 is for the cost of materials and $4,888 is for labor. CEN’s aim is not simply to provide complete funding for the project ourselves, but is instead to assist the community’s efforts to accomplish specific goals on its own. As a reflection of this, the CFR leveraged the cash that CEN contributed to raise commitments valued at a similar amount from other sources. The CFR also secured a donation of a 10,000-liter water tank, the wood needed to construct the water tower, and community labor for the construction. In addition, through creativity and flexibility, the CFR found ways to reduce the cost of the project by over 37 percent.
Latest news (January 1, 2017): With CEN's assistance, the CFR has raised 100 percent of the cost of the project. This has allowed the school to excavate the well and install the pump, and they are now in the process of connecting the system to the host community's new central water main.
Thank you for your generous support!
This project is a key step in a comprehensive plan to upgrade the physical infrastructure, improve the financial condition, and raise the standard of instruction of the CFR. The CFR aims to enable the residents of the Eixo Forte to gain the education and skills needed to create sustainable livelihoods and provide for their families and rural communities. The CFR will provide three years of vocational training that will enable young rural men and women to become rural professionals and educate them on subjects such as the science of agriculture, animal husbandry, responsible land use, and tourism, among others. By providing this locally relevant and interdisciplinary education to the youth of the Eixo Forte, the CFR hopes to encourage younger generations to remain in their rural communities and foster self-reliance.