Djalma Lima was one of the first residents CEN worked with in the community of Suruacá during our Amazon Prototype Project, and is now the coordinator for the Suruacá Entrepreneur Group. He has an infectious can-do attitude that spreads quickly around the community. He understands and exemplifies CEN’s mission and is ready to learn and teach all that he can about self-reliance and entrepreneurship. Djalma is a powerful communication resource for CEN and his community, and he has impeccable values.
One of the earliest projects CEN worked on with Djalma was selling jewelry he and his family crafted. Through our involvement, he learned to adapt the jewelry design based on what he learned about consumers’ needs, as well as a variety of other entrepreneurial and general skills. While he was actively involved with jewelry, he tripled his income from the project.
He eventually decided to scale back his work with jewelry to focus more time on his other responsibilities within the community. He is the community’s health agent and is responsible for educating his neighbors and neighboring communities on a variety of health issues, such as maternity care, clean water and hygiene, infectious diseases and much more. This duty requires him to travel monthly to the city of Santarém, about 4 hours away, for training. While in the city, he also studies to gain his high school equivalency diploma, since, like many Suruacá residents of his generation, he didn’t have the opportunity to finish his classes when he was younger.
Djalma has become an agent of change for the community and a mentor for its budding entrepreneurs by sharing what he has learned through CEN and others. For example, he helped two youth set up a small haircutting business. He is also mentoring his wife, Magarete, a participant in our cCLEAR pilot program, to manage her bakery. This motivation, advice, and support has been critical to her since the completion of the pilot. Today, she continues to expand the business, even in the face of increasing competition.
Djalma strives to help Suruacá become more self-reliant and is helping the community to build healthy connections with the outside world.