We believe we are all connected to one another, including plants and animals. Therefore, the main purpose of EcoCaminhos is being a self-sustainable reality where people can develop themselves in a safe, respectful and inspiring environment while growing in harmony and mutual respect with nature.
From this idea, the Young Apprentice Program emerged.
We co-live and co-work in an international community and we offer local underprivileged but motivated teenagers the chance of living and learning in a safe and multicultural environment as we believe education is one of the most important keys to fight discrimination and inequalities.
Here they have the opportunity to develop themselves meaningfully, learning about sustainability, social interactions, foreign languages and organization, while deepening their skills through theoretical workshops and practical work, and building their own goals in life.
At the moment, our Young Apprentice Program includes four people: Rodrigo, Vinicius, Sebastian and Cleiton.
Rodrigo, 27, Xerém – Brazil
Rodrigo and Vinicius, both from Brazil, have successfully almost completed their program.
Rodrigo has been part of the farm for one year and a half now and will become an employee starting from next year. He had the opportunity to learn about both bioconstruction and agroforestry until he decided to focus on and master agroforestry.
Among working and taking care of all the farm SAFs (AgroForestry Systems), he is now leading the plantation team, introducing volunteers and tourists to the agroforestry concepts and work, and organizing the vegetable garden from the plantation to the sale of the vegetable boxes.
Besides that, the experience with a multicultural community and the opportunity to continuously interact with new people helped him a lot with his shyness and communication skills. When he first arrived at EcoCaminhos it was really difficult for him to express himself and take part in social events. He has been working harder and harder to step out of his comfort zone and now Rodrigo is way more talkative even when he doesn’t know the language.
Find out Rodrigo’s experience on our YouTube channel.
Vinicius, 34, Xerém – Brazil
Vinicius has also been on the farm for over one year.
After growing up with Rodrigo and Claiton in an orphanage of Rio de Janeiro, he has been working for a while in the civil construction field. His focus here at the farm has been learning about bioconstruction to master his skills and learn pros and cons of different construction methods. He quickly became an important leading figure for the bioconstruction team and for those who come visiting the farm and experience bioconstruction for the first time.
During his stay he also took the advantage to learn English and practice other foreign languages with the international community of volunteers who come here from all over the world.
Now that the last big project of bioconstruction (EcoLodge) is finished, he is balancing his work schedule between the maintenance of the other bioconstructed houses and agroforestry, in order to acquire knowledge in this sector as well to better combine the two.
Find out Vinicius’s experience on our YouTube channel.
Sebastian, 27, Venezuela
Sebastian left Venezuela several years ago because of the current hard reality of his country.
He left with the idea of looking for a safe place to live, to grow and find opportunities to then reconnect with his family. He firstly spent one year in Colombia to then moved another year in the Amazon where he witnessed hard moments and difficult situations after which he ended up living in the streets of Rio de Janeiro. There he was when he found out the opportunity to live and work at EcoCaminhos.
Sebastian is a professional chef and used to work in restaurants where food was frequent. Here at the farm he found the opportunity to have a better understanding of what he cooks by learning how to produce food and how to compost it. Indeed, his work schedule is divided between taking care of the agroforestry, vegetable garden and compost and cooking lunches for the team.
He became part of the farm six months ago as a volunteer and quickly gained a position after 3 months on the Apprenticeship program, thanks to his positive and hard-working attitude.
So far, he considers himself to be in the same pathway of EcoCaminhos because both work in order to preserve and take care of the planet by learning how to produce and use just what is necessary. Excitingly, one of the next projects of the farm (Ecolibrium) will see, among other goals, the realization of a restaurant that will give him the possibility to establish and professionally develop.
Cleiton, 24, Xerém – Brazil
This is Cleiton’s third time to take part in the farm programs.
He comes from the suburbs of Rio de Janeiro and experienced a tough life throughout drug environments. During his first stay here he took part in the Rehabilitation program but, despite some improvements, he couldn’t succeed.
As we always say, our aim is to give underprivileged people the opportunity to redeem themselves in life, but we are aware that changes are only possible for those who have a strong motivation and mindset to really overcome their habits and troubles and improve their life conditions.
Cleiton is an example of this.
After leaving EcoCaminhos for the second time, he got involved again in bad habits and drug environments. However, he also had the chance to think about his life and realized how much he could improve it. Those considerations made him request to come back to the farm and seriously take advantage of his opportunity this time. Changes take time for everyone, especially for the long term, but he’s trying his best and people who know him for many years can recognize his efforts and how much he is improving.
When he came back to the farm he started attending the Rehabilitation program again for the first three months, to then move to the Apprentice program thanks to his behavior and results.
Now he is currently on his fifth month.
Find out about Cleiton’s first experience in our article.
If you would like to know more about this program, here you can find all the details.
There is no need to build a big ecofarm or cross the world to make a social and environment impact. Starting from our personal reality and habits is already more than enough.
We believe the best way to make a change in the world is to firstly change and improve ourselves, and we are sure that if we keep striving to learn and do our best, even our small actions will have a big positive impact in the world.
If you feel you would like to contribute with our Young Apprentice Program, feel free to contact us.