The Human Being
In addition to the many facets of the entrepreneur and educational leader, Norberto Odebrecht defended human development through the generation of opportunities. To this effect, he was dedicated to the social side in various ways throughout his life, having a strong ally for many years: Sister Dulce, canonized in 2019 as Saint Dulce of the Poor. Norberto affectionately called her “my teacher and professional mother”; Dulce became the entrepreneur`s advisor and friend during the 1940s. He learned numerous lessons from her, mainly from the way the Saint overcame the most challenging situations.
The first project carried out by the recently graduated engineer Norberto, was the Workers Organization of Bahia headquarters, the embryo of Obras Sociais Irmã Dulce (Sister Dulce Social Projects - Osid). Since then, the entrepreneur has been behind the construction of various buildings connected to Dulce`s projects, such as the Santo Antônio Educational Center – which started as an orphanage, and was one of the Saint`s main dreams. Norberto also helped to structure management technology that met the goals of the perpetuity of the projects, providing free services to the population.
Norberto, Dulce`s engineer
To find out more about Norberto Odebrecht and Saint Dulce of the Poor`s relationship, take a look at the special article “Norberto, o engenheiro de Dulce”, published in the Bahian newspaper Correio*.
In 1965, while still presiding over Construtora Norberto Odebrecht, the engineer took another step in the search to equate the problems that originated from the country`s social and economic structure: he established the Odebrecht Foundation. Through the institution, he put faith in encouraging research and actions to improve Brazilian workers` quality of life and, later on, concentrated on educating teenagers for life, from the observation that the values which consolidate the formation of human beings are established during this phase. Later on, he focused on creating an innovative, sustainable territorial development model that focused on young people in the rural zone: PDCIS.
Even after Norberto Odebrecht passed away in July 2014, the institution continued the commitment of keeping his legacy alive, in the search for the construction of a more harmonious and responsible society, with equal opportunities for all, advancing the PDCIS actions in the Southern Bahia Lowlands, and working so that the program is transformed into a self-sustainable model, with the capacity for reapplication in other contexts.
A social program created by Norberto Odebrecht and coordinated by the Foundation in the Southern Bahia Lowlands received an unprecedented Impact Evaluation that proved its effectiveness.
Relationship with Sister Dulce
Norberto Odebrecht talks about his relationship with Sister Dulce – Section from the TV Educativa program `Memória Viva` (Living Memory).