Lourenço, Brazil

Lourenço is a community on the fringe of the Amazon where the modern world meets the natural world, remarkable for its location in the depths of the Amazon and its wealthy gold deposits. For generations its residents have been forging an existence by pulling gold from the surrounding territory.
  • Lourenço supports a population of approximately 4,000 people in northern Brazil,
  • Located in the state of Amapá, Brazil it is 100 miles from the French Guiana border and 80 miles from the Atlantic coast.
  • The average education is the 5th grade but the school conditions in the community are poor. Old facilities, overcrowded schoolrooms and itinerant teachers make quality and continuity of education a problem.
  • The absence of sewer or waste disposal and poor healthcare facilities compounds problems. Many community members, including school age children, suffer from malnutrition, malaria, and other illnesses but are limited to a small medical clinic with limited resources.

History

In the 1980’s Lourenço was forever changed when a modern mining company brought technology and money into the community. Necessary infrastructure was developed and the population increased as more mine workers were drawn to the community by prospects of work and prosperity.

Small businesses such as hardware stores, restaurants and bars emerged, competing for the workers spare time and money. When the world market for gold shrank and the mine was no longer profitable the mining company closed down the site. For the next 30 years, without the jobs and income created by a major mining operation, Lourenço sank further into obscurity.

Kapoks Plants The Seeds


Kapoks has been invited to Lourenço by a modern mining company that has returned to Lourenço to resume mining in the area. As an ethical and responsible organization the company, Oro Amapá, has asked Kapoks to address the needs of the community as part of their corporate social responsibility policies.

Oro Amapá and Kapoks both realize the benefits of supporting education and economic diversity. The local intelligence and passion is the key to developing a sustainable future for Lourenço. Kapoks plants the seeds of change by empowering and inspiring the community of Lourenço to thrive using its existing available resources. This is accomplished by:
 
  • Supporting the provision of effective educational programs.
  • Provision of business coaching to existing and potential business owners.
  • Organizing the development of businesses and community groups.
  • Supporting economic diversity through new business development.

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Lourenço, Brazil