Promoting social activities in Baia Formosa has always been an important part of Gremi International's strategy for the “Eco Estrela” project. Social Development combined with economic growth being a result of the establishment of the resorts will bring better quality of life for the region.
The International Film Festival (FINC) is an annual event created by Greg Hajdarowicz, founder of Gremi International. Focused on short movies it brings important incentive for local filmmakers and has been gathering people interested in the film industry for the last 9 years. The winner of the 1 Minute Movie Competition travels to participate in the Off Camera Festival in Cracow with his winning movie.
Sport events such as beach volleyball competitions and running events are co-organized with local associations.
Environmental protection and nature care are essential for such a heavenly scenery. Gremi International has registered Baia Formosa in the Clean up the World movement and organizes periodically beach cleaning events with local schools and local authorities.
The Baia Formosa International Film Festival (FINC) is an annual event created by Greg Hajdarowicz, founder of Gremi International. It brings important incentives for local filmmakers and has been gathering people interested in the film industry for the last ten years. The winner of the One Minute Movie Competition travels to participate in the Off Camera Festival in Cracow.
Since it was established, the festival has positioned itself as one of RN’s top film festivals, generating interest in the audio-visual segment and attracting tourists to the region. One of the festival’s aims is to develop a sense of identity among local people. In 2017, FINC held its first volunteering workshop, encouraging students to improve their teamworking skills and reflect on the importance of engagement.
Fifteen women from Baia Formosa with completely different profiles were selected to participate. They were asked to choose their dream film role. A professional group of artists prepared the appropriate costumes and interiors. Each of the women attended a photo shoot that transformed her into her dream figure.
The project’s aim was to prove that, regardless of life’s difficulties, it is worth dreaming, because dreams come true. The photo exhibition at the Outdoor Gallery was opened by Governor of the State Ms Fatima Bezerra (the only woman governor in Brazil) and visited by thousands of people. The women have become local celebrities. In the conservative culture of north-eastern Brazil, it has broken many taboos about women’s position in society.
This social group forms the core of Baia Formosa, but fishermen often struggle to make ends meet. This project’s aim was to help them regain their self-esteem. It included underlining their heroic fight against the ocean and remembering its victims, while honouring them as the city’s “founding fathers”. The project, presented at an outdoor gallery created in the port, triggered extraordinary reactions and had a strong social impact. It undoubtedly gave back many fishermen and their families (around 15% of the population) their sense of pride.
In partnership with the town’s mayor, we are running a project entitled “Baia Formosa, City of Art”. So far, we have donated three artistic installations to the town, which are displayed in public locations. Modern steel letters spelling out the town’s name were unveiled by the Governor of State on Fishermen Square. The town gained a renovated square and lit inscription that quickly became a local landmark. Renovation of the port, the heart of the town, is currently underway. This is where Baia Formosa was founded. A sculpture, funded by the Eco Estrela project and created by Voitek Kordecki, a member of our team, depicts two life-size whales, a female and her calf – an allegory of motherhood. The authorities are working on a full renovation of the port, along with a renovated church. A beautifully-lit artistic installation will restore the historical centre’s splendour. Another permanent project is an outdoor art gallery on the old stone wall of the street leading to the port, which has hosted many photo exhibitions and is already one of the city’s attractions.
In line with our project’s philosophy in 2019, we decided to invite the Brazilian Burning Man community to the project area to organise the first-ever Tropical Burn event. The Ten Principles of Burning Man are extremely close to our philosophy. A strong emphasis on communal effort, civic responsibility, participation and, above, protecting the environment are the project’s priorities. It was an honour to create this story together. The first edition of Tropical Burn, was attended by several hundred people from at least 14 countries, along with numerous art installations. For four days, Baia Formosa became a centre of radical self-expression. Through workshops and meetings organised by the BM community, the inhabitants of Baia Formosa had the opportunity to find out that protecting the environment, artistic freedom and social participation are timeless ideals, shared by people around the world.
Buggy drives are a key part of the local economy. For tourists visiting Baia Formosa, a buggy drive to Sagi or Lagoa de Araracuara is a must. The Buggy Drivers’ Association is the strongest local association in town. It provides employment for 40 buggy drivers from Baia Formosa, all of whom have completed special driving, environmental protection and tourist reception courses. Since 2010, the Eco Estrela team has been cooperating closely with the association at several levels. Basic English courses have been offered to its members, along with special programmes that will launch once the Eco Estrela project is completed. The buggy drivers support and engage in environmental protection activities, stand up for local interests and promote local tourist activity. They are an important partner for our team.
The Eco Estrela project has brought several editions of the Clean up the World initiative to Baia Formosa. With around a hundred students from local schools and representatives of the Tamar Project (an NGO for turtle protection), the Eco Estrela team cleans 6km of beach. Over 500 bags of rubbish have been collected. Most of the rubbish comes from big ships, which dump it in the ocean. The tide brings it to the coast of Rio Grande do Norte, where it ends up on local beaches. The beach by the Eco Estrela project has a freshwater source (Olho d’Agua) – an extremely rare phenomenon at the beach – and around 200 nests of the protected Hawksbill sea turtle. The beach is regularly cleaned using a special machine. Additional activities, including the Clean Up the World initiative, are being organised to involve the local community in protecting the environment – for educational reasons and to encourage civic engagement. The Entrepreneurs’ Association, municipal government and local Catholic Church organise similar activities. The Eco Estrela team supports most of them.
Life in a small community requires a close bond between its members. It is a matter of social integration, but also necessary for social development and sometimes even survival. Investing in sports and activities has been a fun way to strengthen bonds with the local community in Baia Formosa.
We are supporting marathon runner Gilberto’s project of organising running and physical education for children and teenagers. They train hard every day and take part in local and regional competitions. Street runs are organised in Baia Formosa three times a year (the 8km Corrida dos Amigos supervised by Gilberto and the 6 km Corrida FINC). The FINC is the Eco Estrela project’s initiative and is part of the Film Festival (FINC BF) weekend activities. This picturesque 6 km run starts with a view of the bay that gives the town its name and follows the Mata Estrela Atlantic Forest reserve to the Eco Estrela project. It has become popular among local and regional runners, as well as visitors in town for the Film Festival.
The Jangadas Race was being organised without a fixed date by the Baia Formosa’s fisherman community in cooperation with the local authorities. Since 2009, with the support of local businessmen, officials have sought to make the race a permanent fixture in the town’s calendar, recognizing its cultural value and highlighting the strength of fearless fishermen who place bets on their way home to prove who has the fastest boat. The event is attended by around a thousand people, including fishermen and their families, visitors from the region and local people, who meet at the port to watch the race. There are awards for first, second and third place. For the past five years, the Eco Estrela project has sponsored the event, providing new sails for 40 jangadas. Every year, the event becomes more popular. With their sailboats and handcrafted wooden rafts, the sea warriors challenge the waves and strong winds to show local inhabitants’ strength and bravery.
The Baia Formosa Entrepreneurs’ Association (AEBF) is a recently-established group of entrepreneurs who see tourism at the town’s natural vocation and recognise its potential to create jobs and generate income. Their goal is to promote Baia Formosa as a tourist destination, strengthening the local economy. The Association’s members are local entrepreneurs, from artisans to people working in real estate, who want to promote efforts to develop tourism in the region. They also conduct environmental campaigns focusing on sustainable development in partnership with schools and the local government. The Eco Estrela project has been a strong partner promoting the Association and supporting its activities. The Association is open to all entrepreneurs and citizens who want to improve their community, an attitude that supports cohesive and participatory development.
The IFRN’s social function is to provide professional and technological education in referenced quality and political-pedagogical architecture capable of articulating science, culture, work and technology. IFRN’s commitment to human development, active citizenship and the production and the socialization of knowledge aims to transform reality in terms of social equality and justice. The pursuit of technical skill permeates all the levels of education offered, from basic worker training to secondary (integrated and subsequent) and higher (undergraduate, technological and postgraduate) vocational training. Given IFRN’s important role in technical vocational education for different sectors of the economy, as well as supporting integration, development and the quality of the project, we are cooperating with IFRN in different areas. This includes the Film Festival described above, which aims to stimulate cultural production and entrepreneurship, and areas directly linked to the project where, during its first phase, over 400 jobs will be created for the local community. To support scientific and technological development, along with reflective thinking, we will work together to prepare young people to join the project’s Bio-Tech Hub. For this cooperation, we are counting on the support of IFRN, which has more than 21 campuses in the state of Rio Grande do Norte. One of them, with capacity for over 1,200 students, is just 10 km away from the project.