Francisco "Chico" Alves Mendes Filho was born on December 15, 1944, in a rubber reserve called Seringal Bom Futuro, Just outside of Xapuri, a small town in the state of Acre in Brazil. He was the son of a second-generation rubber tapper, Francisco Mendes, and his wife, Irâce. Chico was one of 17 siblings—only 6 of whom survived childhood.
At age 9, Chico began work as a rubber tapper sustainability harvesting the sap from rubber trees and then drying it to form rubber.
Mendes also supported himself and his family by gathering nuts and fruits from the rainforest he inherited from his Father Francisco Mendes. These practices are common sources of income for Brazilians of the region since not only there they sustainable but allowed much more