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Deivite (pronounced David) and Dielem play after school, swimming in a tributary of the Amazon.  Their ancestors, the founders of this quilombola community, were escaped slaves who ran away from Brazil's early plantations and ranches and hid in the rainforest.

Eight-year-old Dielem (right) is much like any other child her age in the UK – she is in the second grade, likes maths best, and the first thing she does when she gets home from school is change out of her uniform and go out to play with her brothers. However, probably most British eight-year-olds aren’t comfortable swimming in crocodile-infested waters, or camping out for weeks on end in a shack in the jungle helping bring in the Brazil nut harvest.  They’re probably not used to sleeping in a hammock or eating turtle either.  All of these things are daily life for Dielem.

The future of the quilombolas and their lifestyle in the forest is dependent on being them being able to protect their lands against industrial trespassers and profiteers – and on them finding a way to make a sustainable living from the forest.  CPI’s work in helping the quilombolas gain the legal collective title to their lands, fight off threats, and turn their Brazil nut harvest into a reliable source of income is protecting not the future of children like Dielem, but the forest itself too.

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