17 years later, the village of Cachopo once again has a Kindergarten

The official opening of the school took place last Tuesday, March 19

Photo: Mariana Carriço | Sul Informação

The school is completely renovated and has all the conditions so that children can play and learn without having to travel dozens of kilometers every day. Seventeen years later, Cachopo once again has a Kindergarten room.

The class was formed in September, at the beginning of the school year, but only now have the children, teacher and assistants moved to the new facilities, officially opened last Tuesday, March 19th.

«There are nine children today, but when this request began, there were only six and that means that the simple fact of announcing something like this has already allowed some parents to think about their children's education in a different way», highlighted Rafael Days.

Excited to be inaugurating the redevelopment of the school where he also grew up, the current president of the Cachopo Parish Council does not deny that this idea of ​​opening a class in the village, «a year and nine months ago, was very out of the box».

«It was the idea of ​​a crazy executive who looked at his children and saw them travel at least 20 kilometers every day to go to the nearest children's center and then, at the end of the day, do the even to return to their homes», he confessed.

With this “outside the box” idea, the first step to take was to speak to the municipal executive of Tavira and then to the director of the school group, “who always said yes and gave us the opportunity to positively discriminate against our mountain”.

In Rafael Dias' opinion, «the mountains must be positively discriminated against, because, over time, they have been negatively discriminated against», with the disappearance of services and the abandonment of houses.


Remove from the plate. Photo: Mariana Carriço | Sul Informação


For the president of the Board, this is a «sign of vitality that the executive is giving to the population of Cachopo».

In a room full of children and their families, former students and school staff, the rest of the population of Cachopo and representatives of other entities, Mayor Ana Paula Martins stressed that getting here "wasn't easy" and that it was only possible because “there was a lot of desire and joint work”.

«The first step was to go to DGEST and understand how many children was the minimum to reactivate the school. Then we spoke to Professor Duarte [director of the Group] to formalize it. Then it was necessary to find an educator, which could be a problem, and assistants. Bringing workers from Tavira here was difficult, people didn't want it, and we needed meals for the children and a space, which the City Council also didn't have, and the solution was in the Cachopo Parish Center. It was because of all these people saying yes that we can be here sowing the future», stated Ana Paula Martins.

In the words of the mayor of Tavira, this is «a moment that goes against what is being done».

«We are bringing to the interior the possibility of settling young people here, showing that this place is alive and fighting desertification», he concluded.

In order for the class to function, it was then necessary for a kindergarten teacher to be available to leave the coast and climb the mountains.

At 52 years old, educator Paula Madama, who is part of the D. Manuel I de Tavira Group, embraced this proposal and moved to the village.


Educator, assistant and students inaugurate the Cachopo school. Photo: Mariana Carriço | Sul Informação


«This trip, which is 40 kilometers (and which I only do on the weekends), at first seemed very difficult, but for me it is a charm, I think the time I spend between land and sea is much healthier than if I had to take the subway or a line of cars", he confessed to Sul Informação. 

The educator, born in Tavira, remembers her school days, when she studied with «people from Cachopo», who had to travel long distances to get to school in the county seat.

«I felt this call and decided to come, because it has also been difficult for me to watch the removal of children from their environments and their families, their roots and cultures, to go to blocks, which are schools in the same way, but which do not give them these conditions".

«At the moment, we have few children here, but, from what I think, a network has already been set up so that people can start looking at the villages, and at Cachopo, in this case, with great potential to take root, make a living and enjoy this wealth that we have around here», he stated.

In this class of nine children, there is also no lack of multiculturalism, since, in addition to Portuguese, there are students from Brazil and the United States, whose families now reside in the surrounding area.

According to the educator, «everyone is perfectly integrated and adapted to this reality, which for them is school, home and family».

«It has been great working with these children. They are sweet and for them anything is a joy. Furthermore, we always have the availability of the Parish Council to travel wherever we go and my project for this school will be very much within what resembles the village's culture", explained Paula Madama to our newspaper, who has even promoted an “exchange” with another Kindergarten in the group.

Those who also watched this reopening with great emotion were the school's former employees.


Maria José and Margarida with deacon Albino Martins, president of the Parish Center, and Ana Paula Martins, mayor of Tavira. Photo: Mariana Carriço | Sul Informação


Maria José, 69 years old, and Margarida, 61, worked at the Cachopo School for 20 years, until the day it closed.

At the time, they were included in a training and exercise project financed by the European Social Fund, the Escola Superior de Educação and the In Loco Association, which included training in the scope of social education and early childhood education.

«Seeing the school reopen is a great joy and knowing that our efforts during the years we worked here contributed a little to this is very gratifying», reveals Margarida to Sul Informação, remembering that the school had 80 students.

Margarida currently works with the elderly at Lar de Cachopo, but, since the school reopened, on Tuesdays and Thursdays she goes to the children in the afternoon.

“I really like it and, in whatever way I can, I will help,” he told our newspaper.

Maria José is now retired and admits that working at the Cachopo school was “the best project of her life”.

Almost 70 years old, the former caregiver hopes that the school will not close again.

«It is important to reactivate these facilities in the interior towns, because we know that this is a journey that will take many more passengers», highlighted Duarte Custódio, director of the D. Manuel I de Tavira School Group, of which the Cachopo Kindergarten is part.

The teacher also stressed that, unlike other schools in the municipality, there are many vacancies here that can still be filled.

«The preschool is an open house, which allows any citizen who comes to live here to take advantage of this school».


Photos: Mariana Sedge | Sul Informação



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