CECAFÉ – Coffee Children in School Program
Coffee and computers in Varre-Sai – UNICAFÉ promotes the installation of a computer lab in coffee producing communities by Silaine Terra, from the Coffee Commerce Center in Rio de Janeiro – CCCRJ.
Varre-Sai has the first rural school of the state (of Rio de Janeiro) to be included in the Coffee Children in School Program, developed by the coffee export business through CECAFÉ – Brazilian Coffee Exporter Council, and the exporter companies´ Social Responsibility Program.
The Elídio Valentim de Moraes Municipal School, in Santa Rita do Prata, was given a computer lab with ten networked computers, which will soon be connected to the Internet. The grand opening of the lab happened on September 9th, 2004 and was attended by Batista Mancini, director at UNICAFÉ, by Guilherme Braga Abreu Pires Filho, president of Rio de Janeiro´s Coffee Commerce Center and general director of Cecafé, as well as by Cecafé´s judicial assistant, Karen Ariano and by the Secretary of Municipal Education and Culture, Maria Auxiliadora de Oliveira.Find out more about CCCRJ
FURTHER INFORMATION ABOUT THE PROJECT
The goal here is to promote Digital Inclusion at local schools and communities which do not have computers, as a way to also make way for social inclusion. In Varre-Sai, the project was supported by UNICAFÉ External Commerce Company, one of the leading export companies, as well as by the local City Hall, which made use of the classroom possible.
Varre-Sai was, according to a survey conducted three years ago, the second-ranked town in digital exclusion in the state of Rio de Janeiro. This town will be the fifth town in the country to receive a computer lab from this project, which has granted computer labs in one town in São Paulo, two towns in Minas Gerais and one town in Bahia. Varre-Sai was chosen to receive this computer lab partially due to the fact that this town is one of the greatest coffee producers in the state as it is responsible for 29% of the total coffee produced in the state. This town has 421 coffee producing properties which keep 800 families fed and working. José Ferreira, an agronomic engineer, also played a large role in the choosing of this town.
Maria Auxiliadora, Karen Ariano and Rosana Vieira, Principal at the Elídio Valentim de Moraes Municipal School, which is in the town of Varre-Sai and has 232 students ranging from elementary to middle school. These children come from families of coffee producers or small property owners. The computer lab, according to the principal Rosana Rangel Pereira, will be used by the students in their classes and will also be open at night for the general community of Santa Rita do Prata. “That way, we seek to optimize the use of the equipment by the entire community,” said the principal.
Guilherme Braga Abreu Pires Filho, the director at CESCAFÉ explained that the project was created to give support to rural communities of small coffee producers and rural workers, bringing technology and information about the world of computing to rural schools. He stated that the “Program is based on the idea held by coffee export companies that, in order to face the challenge of fixing the inequalities present in the Brazilian economy, private companies must actively participate. Also, it is based on the growing concern of factories and consumers from importing countries regarding the conditions in which their coffee is produced. The concept of Sustainability has become more developed and its four core ideas – social relations at work, fair prices, fair salaries and taking care of the environment are demanded more and more every day.
"Respecting these core ideas will ensure that Brazilian coffee will be set apart from other producing countries. Economic and social relations and being more concerned about the environment and about quality will show future generations that it is important to have commercial activities which are sustainable, dignified and responsible,” added Batista Mancini, director at UNICAFÉ.
Batista Mancini - Unicafé, Francelino Bastos França – guest of honor - and José Ferreira Criança from Coffee in Schools (Digital Inclusion), promote activities such as Field Days, where coffee producers come together for training sessions related to improving harvest, processing and coffee quality as a way to increase income. Another venture is the program geared for youths around 16 years of age which aims to foster the development of entrepreneurship. These are the core actions that the export business has accomplished through CESCAFÉ´s coordination, according to Guilherme Braga Pires Filho.
Batista Mancini, director at UNICAFÉ, reminded us that since it was founded in 1968, UNICAFÉ has carried out social services for employees and suppliers; an example of this is UNICAFÉ´s Galiléia estate, in Mutum Preto (state of Espírito Santo), where medical and dental health care services are provided to employees and their families.
We understand that the Digital Inclusion program, as well as the other programs are important actions and will certainly be both positive and useful.
“When you make a donation you don´t know how the money will be put to use. Here, with the enthusiasm that can be seen in both students and teachers, I have no doubt about the results,” said Batista Mancini.
HONORING THE COFFEE PRODUCER
The lab was named after Mr. Francelino Bastos, a pioneer in Rio de Janeiro´s coffee culture.
Once a state representative and a local coffee producer, Mr. Bastos was also a member of the Consultation League at the former Brazilian Institute of Coffee (IBSC). “I am deeply honored by this homage. My family has been here since 1872 and has always planted coffee. I founded this school in 1968 and today I am being homage by having a classroom named after me, which makes me very happy. This honor is being carried out by my friend Jair Coser, which makes me proud and joyful. I am a country man, a rustic man,” said Francelino.
The school´s principal, Rosana Vieira Rangel Pereira, thanked Cecafé, UNICAFÉ and the City Hall of Varre-Sai for their donation and support, and said that the computer lab – with holds ten computers – is a privilege and a great achievement for the school. “We are giving the rural community the chance to have access to computers, which are part of everyone´s lives nowadays.” Very few of the 232 students at the school have had any contact with computers.
That´s the case with Bárbara Souza Dias, 14, an 8th grader at the school. She is a resident in the Santa Rita do Prata area and had never before used a computer. “I believe that learning computer skills will really help me get a job in the future.”
“I had always wanted to learn and had even thought about enrolling in a course at Varre-Sai, but it would be hard to get there,” explained the student. Meanwhile, Vander Valentim Rodolphi, 17, 8th grader, has already finished a basic computer skills course. “The computers will be very important so we can do research for our school projects. It´s a wonderful initiative,” he said. And little Gilson, 13, 4th grader, who had also never had access to a computer is very optimistic: “With these computers we will learn even more, which will help us out a lot and broaden our opportunities.”
Maria Auxiliadora de Oliveira, Varre-Sai´s municipal secretary of Education, said that it is important for Varre-Sai´s city hall to be able to count on partnerships such as the ones led by Cecafé and UNICAFÉ so as to foster the development of social projects such as Digital Inclusion. “I´d like to thank everyone who has worked on the implementation of this lab. Ever since we found out that Varre-Sai is a town with little Digital Inclusion, we have worked on this issue and partnerships are essential to change this reality,” said the secretary.
COFFEE WITH RESPONSIBILITY ALSO IN ESPÍRITO SANTO
The Coffee Children in School digital inclusion program, headed by CECAFÉ (Brazilian Coffee Exporter Council installed yet another computer lab in a rural school in the town of Baixo Guandu, Espírito Santo, with UNICAFÉ´s financial support.
The Francisco da Cunha Ramaldes Public School was the sixth school to benefit from this program. The computer lab will be used by the 1,400 children at the school as well as by the general community, which will also have access to the computers.
DIGITAL LABS IN PARTNERSHIP WITH UNICAFÉ
- Baixo Guandu
- São Gabriel da Palha
- Três Pontas
- Iataguaçu 1
- Itaguaçu 2
- Nova Venécia 2
- Afonso Cláudio
- E.M. Elídio Valentim de Morais
- E.M.E.F. Francisco da Cunha Ramaldes
- E.F.A. e Educação Profissional do BLEY (MEPES network)
- E.M. Nossa Senhora Aparecida
- E.M.E.F. Thiers Velloso
- E.M.E.F. Padre Afonso
- E.M. Dr. Adalton Santos
- E.M.E.F. Pedro Balbino de Menezes
- E.M. Córrego Francisco Corrêa