• “Staying in the rural area is taking care of our roots”

    DATE: 06/24/2022

    Published by: Norberto Odebrecht Foundation

    Teenager Maíra de Sena studies at the CFR-PTN and is a beneficiary of the Norberto Odebrecht Foundation Social Program

    A great honor. This is how Maíra de Sena, 16 years old, describes the opportunity to access quality education to become a rural entrepreneur. The teenager is a second year student at the Presidente Tancredo Neves Rural Family House (CFR-PTN), a rural school that trains young people in high school integrated with a technical course in Agribusiness. The institution is part of the PDCIS, a Social Program coordinated by the Norberto Odebrecht Foundation, and benefits about 100 boys and girls like Maíra every year.

    The support of the family is fundamental to Maíra’s journey, who is attending high school integrated to the technical course in Agropecuária But her love for agriculture comes from before she entered the House: her parents are family farmers and members of the President Tancredo Neves Rural Producers Cooperative (COOPATAN). And they know how important it is to support their daughter in becoming a rural entrepreneur. “It’s the family, right? The biggest motivator, opines Maria de Jesus, Maíra’s mother. “If we don’t encourage our children, they will stagnate, then go look for a job somewhere else…  We have to help, collaborate.” she finishes. For them, the training at the Family House is giving this young woman the tools she needs to continue her family’s legacy.

    A legacy that Maíra also sees as essential: “if I had been asked before, I couldn’t even answer what I wanted to do. But, now, I intend to stay in the rural area, she says. “I want to become a teacher and move on in the field. Also because [to stay in the rural area] is to take care of our roots, right? We came from this root, and we have to take care of it, she opines.

    Support for the first crops

    After attending his first year of school in the remote manner, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Maíra is taking her first face-to-face classes in 2022. “In-person is different, right? Always looking at the cell phone screen was very tiring, she says. But the additional support provided by the family, teachers and colleagues enabled her to overcome the challenges imposed by the distance. “We were able to win this battle, and fortunately I am here, for the second year, comments Maíra.

    And not even the social distance has affected the impact that the support provided by the school has had on Maíra’s life. In the so-called Educational-Productive Projects (PEPs), the Family House provides the necessary resources, as fertilizer and seedlings, for young people to start their first crops. After, monitors from the school assist the students on their properties, helping them so that the project gives good results.

    In 2021, Maíra was contemplated and started raising pigs on the family property – her first experience with animals. Objective, now, is to also include the planting of manioc in its PEP. That experience, united with the learnings obtained in her training as a technician, have given the young woman the confidence that she has the knowledge to produce more and better. “In the old days, we used to look at the culture on the farm and think: ‘will it work? But today we are sure that it will work out, she says, smiling.

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