There is a growing disparity between states in the wealthier Southeast region of Brazil and those in the Northeast, where Ceara is located. Students in the Northeast attend fewer years of school on average, and 19.1% of the population above the age of 15 is illiterate. Without access to higher education (4.7% of the population in the North and Northeast holds a college degree), residents of rural communities are unable to break the cycle of poverty and encourage development in their community.
EPC, through its innovative cooperative learning methodology where students study in small groups and learn together, has become a vehicle for change and opportunity. A school house will provide space for these study groups to convene, and enable EPC to achieve further impacts in the community. Students who live far from the town center will now have the opportunity to participate and board on-site. The facility will also serve as a community meeting space for educational and cultural purposes.
EPC and its sister programs have demonstrated widespread benefits, not only for the students who participate in the program and their families, but for entire communities in the Northeast. Students who attend university and obtain expertise in specific areas are encouraged to return to their communities, where they give back to the EPC program by teaching classes and mentoring current students, and also put their knowledge to use developing local solutions to address community needs.