“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” – Nelson Mandela
Rather than change the world, the Trocano Araretama REDD+ Project aims to improve the lives of the 105 communities within its area by educating their inhabitants in sustainability. Education is a form of learning skills, knowledge and habits that are passed from one generation to the next, meaning that teaching the local children the importance of protecting the rainforest will positively affect generations to come.
With the cooperation of the local schools, the project held a competition to raise awareness of the forest’s value among the young people of Borba. Students of all ages were asked to creatively design a poster based on their perceptions of the forest and why they think it needs to be protected. Not only did this contest allow the children to be directly involved in the project, it also gave Celestial Green Ventures and the Trocano Project an invaluable insight into their thoughts and opinions.
After much consideration, it was decided to award 12 year old William Lemos’ “The Environment is Life” poster as the overall winner, which not only depicted the young boy’s artistic skills but also his mature attitude to his surroundings by intertwining the environment and life itself. This idea is an accurate representation of the locals’ lives, as they rely on the forest for all aspects of life.
While attending the award ceremony, William expressed his surprise to have won the competition and explained that he decided to draw upon the positivity of the animals and plants living in this biodiverse ecosystem rather than focusing on the negative side of deforestation.
“It is vital to protect the forest in order to have better air and a better life. After all, the damage we do to it comes back to us,” he said.
As a reward, the Trocano Araretama Project presented the talented student with a new Pentax Optio WG-2GPS digital camera during an event held at Borba’s Education Department, where representatives of the project, CGV and the municipality, including Secretary of Education Francisco Ferreira, were present.
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