At Eco Caminhos we have a social mission focused on the training and learning of Brazilian youths with low income or in situations of social vulnerability. We offer a professional training program in bio-construction, organic agriculture, permaculture, ecotourism and hospitality in our eco farm. From past experiences of Bart Bijen, director of Eco Caminhos, in management of an orphanage in the city of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, it has been noticed that small children in poverty still attract some kind of sympathy, but already teenagers without many opportunities, are seen as bad person for the society. Uneducated teens are often neglected by the government and society at large. They face racism, discrimination and low opportunities in the job market.
A powerful factor that also influenced us in the creation of the program is the low quality of Brazilian public education, which, although free, lacks good infrastructure, quality teachers and school materials, even in peripheral areas.
In combination with precarious housing conditions, the expectation of contributing to family subsistence, and the failure of basic education to relate to their social context, this makes it more likely that adolescents will give up their studies at an early age.
Not to mention that competition for the job market is extremely strict, since joining a quality university is also a very selective path, young people face racism and discrimination.
Thus, we believe that education is the best way to improve people’s lives and create a more egalitarian and secure society. We don’t want to wait for the government to take action, even though we know that we alone can not solve Brazil’s social problems. We hope to set the example by offering a high quality professional training program for Brazilian adolescents and making this initiative central to our organization.
Eco Caminhos invites motivated teens to join us and participate in a learning program that can choose bioconstruction, organic agriculture, permaculture, renewable energy, hospitality or ecotourism. We offer a professional training program of one to two years with everything included. Providing accommodation, healthy food, professional training, school, school reinforcement and activities such as sports, hiking, game nights and camping weekends.
At Eco Caminhos, we understand that disadvantaged adolescents can only participate in our apprenticeship program if they receive a small allowance. We offer $ 400 per month so they can pay for transportation, visit their families or send part of the value to their families, who often live in poverty. Once Eco Caminhos becomes profitable, we want to invest 25% of the profit in educational projects, to cover all investments (including these benefits) and to develop our social projects.
WHAT DOES THE YOUNG APPRENTICE PROGRAM INCLUDE?
- We support your dreams
- We give stipend
- Working on a beautiful eco farm
- Learn how to do bio-construction, organic agriculture, renewable energies, ecotourism, hospitality and different languages
- Living the principles of permaculture
- Orientation of a professional with more than ten years of experience with young people
- End of studies: in case the adolescent does not have a diploma of primary / secondary education, Eco Caminhos makes sure that it is enrolled in the school, besides promoting an educational support add
- A healthy life: we provide adolescents organic food, we stimulate the practice of sports and we stimulate the work in team
- We offer a safe environment
- Guidance and transport to any medical facility, if necessary
- Professional placement, internships and work opportunities outside of Eco Caminhos for those who demonstrate to be motivated and educationally based to learn
The Eco Caminhos criteria for selecting a teenager for our apprentice program are simple: the adolescent must be motivated and really in a situation of need.
We use our network to contact orphanages, NGOs or schools in the poorest areas of Brazil and we ask these organizations to consult people who demonstrate excellent behavior and motivation.
First, we want to help those who really want something in life but don’t have the opportunity. The educational level is irrelevant to us, all that matters is motivation and respect.
We then do an interview, visit their homes and talk to their parents / caregivers. If the teenager is eager to participate in the program and we come to an agreement, we first take a test of a week and a month to see what it will be like. It is important to understand that not all teenagers will succeed in the program. Although success can not be guaranteed, we believe that because of our personalized approach, the success rate will be high.
SPONSOR A TEENAGER
You or your organization can sponsor a teenager in our program and track his / her progress closely. With R $ 7,000 per year we can invite a teenager:
All other expenses, such as accommodation, meals and school support, are covered by Eco Caminhos. An organization, individual or group of people who decide to support a teenager will have the opportunity to closely monitor the progress of this teenager. We will send reports and facilitate conversations between the teen, the program coordinator, and the sponsor to monitor progress. If you are interested in supporting a teenager, please contact us.