Imagine a culinary school that was not only good for people but for the environment, too. The Sustainable Culinary School provides free job training in the culinary arts for low-income community members, especially single mother head of households. The school also produces its own solar energy, has its own water source, and grows many of the ingredients - from herbs to fish - used in the classes. Through economic and environmental empowerment, the school will fight multi-generational poverty.
Grande Bom Jardim is the poorest region of Fortaleza, Brazil. It is marred by high levels of violence and low levels of education. Poor mental health (which leads to depression, anxiety, substance abuse, and poor family relations) is widespread and is largely attributable to a lack of stable employment. Many households in Grande Bom Jardim are headed by single mothers who lack stable employment and are thus at risk for poor mental health and all of its collateral consequences.
The Community Mental Health Movement has built a sustainable culinary school in Grande Bom Jardim and offers free classes to community members, targeting single female heads of households. By partnering with a local and well-respected university, the school can offer certification in the culinary arts, greatly improving students' employability and mental health. The sustainable garden will also promote better nutrition and a healthier environment for community members.
The goal is to certify 100 students per year to help them obtain employment in the culinary field. Some students from the pilot class have already started their own businesses, and others are working in restaurants and grocery stores. Others have been hired by the Movement for other projects we've launched. The boost in self-esteem, job prospects, & community ties will have an immeasurably positive impact on both the stability of each student's life and family, as well as the community at large.
This project has provided additional documentation in a PDF file (projdoc.pdf).