The TEIA project was born by means of an initiative of the Enactus UFABC team in partnership with NUPE community and its coordinator intent on upgrading the livelihood of those undergoing treatment through the public mental healthcare network, opening for them opportunity in terms of jobs and income and boosting what pledges to become Brazil’s first of its kind recyclable/reusable materials work cooperative made up of mental health patients, whose rationale is to promote social reintegration and to rescue this strand of the workforce, which faces particular hardships in generating its own sources of income. As such, the project is driven by the tripod social empowerment, growing autonomy and financial stability, whose ultimate goal is to make the enterprise self-sustainable, thereby capable of running itself independently from the transient dynamics of state power and to create value for the community through their diligent work.
According to the WHO, Brazil harbours a population of around 23 million people with mental disorders such as schizophrenia, depression and anxiety, in many cases at such a degree of severity that it renders those affected by them unable to work. There are very few places such as NUPE focused on actively engaging the patients through therapy and work. This is partly the reason why it receives patients at an advanced stage of therapeutic monitoring from other institutions that are also part of the National Mental Health Network, such as Psychosocial Care Network, Service Hub and Centers, what results in fewer difficulties when it comes to enabling the productive process underway in one of its seven workshops, namely silkscreen, cooking, photography, horticulture, carpentry, weaving and making of air fresheners.
The TEIA workshops works creating a variety of products with recyclable materials collected from the local community. The main recycled products the TEIA project produces are soaps made with used cooking oil from local restaurants, wood crafts made from wood waste of local construction sites, bags made from discarded banners, orchids and succulents cultivated from plants and seedlings discarded by local floricultures. We recently formalized the business workshops trough 4 MEI’s, individual entrepreneur licenses, that enables them to sell legally their products on the market. The next steps of the project are raising their income with the project by increasing the production and selling through partnerships with local stores, and creating online sales channels for the workshops. We also plan to raise their profits by improving the production processes, designing new products in a partnership with Design students of Mackenzie College and training the community members in entrepreneurial tools with aid of our professors and student members from the Management Engineering course.
The project team counts on 18 people divided in 7 smaller teams, one for each production workshop, all led by UFABC students to make the project runs effectively.
Today, around 64 users receive approximately R$ 30.00 monthly with the project. From the targets set by the Management Engineering students in our team, we’ve defined four main strategic goals for the project, these being: creating a model of cooperative, devising a sustainable business model, fostering a solid TEIA organizational culture and the Enactus UFABC team ultimate disengagement from the community.