Stories & practices that empower real change

Thais Corral: We Go Far Because We Go Together

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Global social entrepreneur Thais Corral has played key roles in the women’s movement and the global leadership movement for decades. Now, as founder of SINAL & Vista Allegre, she transitions her social entrepreneurship to focus on local projects in Brazil, with far-reaching impact. Here, she discusses the concept behind her latest community centers.

Watch the full episode: ‘Thais Corral: Creating Fields of Dream & Action’ HERE

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Walter Link:  What I find very interesting about SINAL, and your whole venture here also with Vista Allegre, is that you integrate not only the personal development and healing but you bring in the healing of the mountain because it’s a partially de-forested area that has suffered from the lack of sustainability and you are involved in reforesting this area and to create another model about how to reforest and how to bring land back into sustainability, and, you’re working also very closely with the poor community at the bottom of the hill, who live in a small town. You are integrating the environmental sustainability with the social sustainability with the personal sustainability and showing that all of them in a way fit together, all of them can benefit each other.

What I like to do is to make bridges between these uncommon things and see how something can happen from there.

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Thais Corral:  What I like to do is to see how to make bridges between these uncommon things and see how something can happen from there; a different action can happen from there. Of course, this valley is in a very  peculiar position, which I think offers an important model, because it’s around the belt of Rio de Janeiro, a very densely populated areas in which there is a lot of pressure for natural resources – water, land and all these things. And with a human settlement which is made of workers, but also a lot of young people that are really impacted by publicity, by all this modern junk consumerism that is around, so they don’t value necessarily what they have and they have the tendency of being pretentious – not really taking care of the environment.

I think that Sinal, which stands for synchronicity, innovation and joy, wants to show how some of these initiatives, like in which you can enjoy, you can be modern by creating, by protecting the resources that you have – protecting your water, protecting your forests, by creating value from forests, value in the sense not only for financial value but also value in terms of your health and the way you live.

Protecting your water, protecting your forests, by creating value from forests, have value – not only for financial value – but also value in terms of your health and the way you live.

The projects that we are now doing – we call them ‘resilience to climate’ because this is a hilly area in which stabilizing the soil is critical with the severe events that are already happening – very extreme rains and storms and big questions of the chemicals that is in the food that we eat. It’s so easy to change that by creating your own garden, being the level of learning how to use better the sun, which is a resource that is available here, and could be a way of not having so much trouble with electricity, on which we are so dependent.

All these signs – that’s the concept of Sinal – the initiatives, which are also lights – in which people can see simple ways in which they can improve their lives. We are making little demonstrative projects of how this is possible. I think a very nice human part of it, not to mention the projects and reforestation, is that we mix the people. We mix the these young, well-educated Europeans or North Americans that want to change the world, who have radical ideas about what is organic or what is not organic or not using GMOs and all that. And we have very simple people from here that have spent all their lives having sometimes ways of doing things that we would say predatory.

It’s not so much only about what you achieve, but it’s how you achieve it.

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But, how they can learn from each other is in a respectful and also appreciative way. I think that Sinal is a combination of these ingredients. So far what I see is that it’s not so much only about what you achieve, but it’s how you achieve it. In that, I see that even if we don’t have – I mean if you go about these organic farms many, many of these young people that are there, many of them have created them, but when they come to Sinal they say here we feel that we are learning not so much about what we already know how to do, but how to do it and how to engage with people and how we can create knowledge that is not only ours but is from everybody.

We appreciate, we respect and we go far because we go together.

That’s what also Sinal is –  supporting an environment in which we appreciate, we respect and we go far because we go together.

Watch the full episode: ‘Thais Corral: Creating Fields of Dream & Action’ HERE

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