Actions against child labour and alternatives to rural youth
For more than 15 years, the tobacco sector has developed actions to raise the awareness of the growers about the importance of education and the fight against child labour, as well as to comply with current Brazilian legislation, which since 2008 has determined that children under 18 cannot work in tobacco fields. According to the latest census by the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics – IBGE, in 2010, it was the small tobacco-producing farms that had the highest rate of child labour reduction in Brazil. Looking for the reduction of child labour and to give to the young rural people new opportunities without leaving the countryside, the Growing Up Right Institute took up the challenge of creating a pioneer pilot course, with methodology and pedagogy, especially focused on rural youth. In 2016, the Rural Professional Learning Program was implemented in five municipalities in of Rio Grande do Sul - Candelária, Santa Cruz do Sul, Vale do Sol, Venâncio Aires and Vera Cruz. Aimed at adolescents aged 14 to 18, from families of small rural growers, the programme's purpose is to provide education alternatives to the rural youth so that they can be prepared for the future. The big difference is that young people receive proportional wages and benefits according to the rules of the Young Apprentice Program, but they do not work in the fields or companies that are the contractors. The activities, aimed at rural management, are carried out in the school counterparty in partner schools and in their communities. The main objectives of the Growing Up Right Institute are related to offering learning alternatives, professionalisation and opportunities for qualifying the adolescents in the rural areas with the purpose of developing rural management and entrepreneurship and generating possibilities for the professionalisation of boys and girls.