Hélder was born in Cinfães, a village of Viseu bathed by the Douro River, within a family that lived from agriculture for several generations. He was still new when he migrated with his parents to Lisbon and early on to understand whether he belonged to the countryside or the city. He still had gifts “all the memories of the difficulties of living in the countryside” and this momentarily removed him from agriculture. He wanted to be an artist.
And so it was. He worked as a tattoo artist for about 10 years, but eventually saturated: “As an artist, he felt all the frustrations of being closed in a place to draw and have to receive people. Permaculture emerged as a very natural response. Deep down, I wanted to be more self-sufficient, to live less dependent on external resources. ”
Then he started studying. He took several courses related to the theme, one with Bill Mollison, one of the creators of the concept of permaculture, and founded the new permaculture school, a nomadic school that “escapes the old paradigms of teaching”, promoting “alternative education, creative and empowering ”. The goal, he says, “is that students speak more and share the knowledge they have instead of looking at the master, teacher or guru, holder of all wisdom.”
Hélder, who has always seen himself as a “professional revolutionary”, is always aware of the appearance of ideas that explore a new life system. Sociocracy is one of its latest passions and it is in this concept, it is the great challenge of our civilization: “make decisions together and solve the problems in a way that everyone feels that participates.”
In Portugal, Hélder has been involved in various projects, such as the creation of Quinta do Vale da Lama, in Lagos, which promotes permaculture and regenerative agriculture. The teacher emphasizes that “we are one of the countries where permaculture is present in Europe”, but adds that “the great challenge continues to find ways to work on a network and to organize ourselves collectively”: “Portuguese are very emotional people and the Working in a team in a pragmatic way is not so easy for us [laughs]. ”