“We formed the cooperative to help empower women in this community.”
Janete and her family live in Salgueiro, a community in the São Gonçalo city in Rio de Janeiro. Many women in this poverty-stricken community scavenge local trash dumps to support and feed their families. In 1999, Janete started caring for children of these women during the day – children who were often ill from expired food they were fed from the trash dump. Recognizing the desperation around her, Janete made a decision to help empower these women who lacked the skills and education necessary for a sustainable livelihood.
With an entrepreneurial vision, Janete, a talented seamstress, founded the group ‘Mulheres do Salgueiro,’ translated in English as ‘Women of Salgueiro.’ Her program trained women to be shop owners and artisans and productive, income-earning seamstresses using material made from recycled packaging.
Seeing how her own business savvy and strong desire to help could impact her community, Janete bought a building in 2006 with the help of a local non-governmental organization (NGO) to house a cooperative where she could further develop her training programs. With the goal of placing importance on the value of women in Salguerio, Janete dedicated herself to help rebuild the self-esteem and confidence these women had lost throughout the years.
In 2011, The
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