Opening up new horizons for deprived children and their families

Some things in life have a price, but when you dedicate your time and you receive good energy in exchange, they have not’. These words were from Vanderlei Dias from Decorative Paints in Mauá, Brazil after he and 15 of his colleagues had finished a major job improving the conditions at Chácara das Flores Eurípedes Barsanulfo. This non-profit organization supports deprived children by providing diverse classes such as ballet, taekwondo, theater, informatics, history telling, dancing as well as lessons in writing for the younger ones. Also meals are provided on a daily basis for those who attend the classes and for the children’s mothers professional courses and handmade art workshops are organized.

Rogerio Soares, who works in the Mauá warehouse, had heard about the poor conditions of the institution and managed to convince 15 other colleagues from different departments, like the Microbiology Lab, Purchasing, Finance and Sustainability to join him on various Saturdays to improve the installations of the center, making the learning process more efficient and creating a comfortable and a welcoming space. In close collaboration with the management of the institution the most urgent needs were inventoried and with support from the Community Program a plan of action was made.

The first Saturday our volunteering colleagues visited Chácara das Flores Eurípedes Barsanulfo, they took the time to meet the children and through making drawings they learned how important this center is for them. Together they created a vegetable garden and got their hands dirty in the soil while preparing it and seeding various green products for use in future meals in the institution. Also on the first day, the volunteers received a special training to transform the 3.6 L cans of their own products into photography cameras. With the help of the Chácara das Flores coordinator, they developed 35 cans adapted and learned how the process of taking pictures worked to share the knowledge with the children.

After working hard during several Saturdays, the conditions of the center had been considerably improved and on the last day our volunteers prepared a special day. High on the wish list from the institution was to start a new professional bakery course. In order to make this possible the necessary equipment was donated and the ‘Escola do Pão’ (‘School of Bread’) became a reality. Rogerio Soares, the initiator of the project, was quite pleased with this new step in the project and said: ‘Now, even more teenagers as well as adults will be enabled to have the opportunity to learn a profession and earn an income for their families. This course really gives the young generation the chance to create new careers’.

Besides, our volunteers could now see the progress in the vegetable garden and with the help of games they taught the children about exploring the environment and the conscious use of water and pollution. All in all the day meant a lot of fun for the children as they saw their own drawings put up on the walls which still had to be colored. With the help of our colleagues they also managed to paint the chairs and the floor, bringing the power of color to the place. In the meantime, some of the children were invited to attend a class given by our volunteers on the working of the dark chamber. Then they were encouraged to use the previously prepared cans and take pictures of the new green area of the institution. The children were obviously delighted to see the science behind these actions.

All involved were rewarded with fresh pizza, prepared by the Cháracara das Flores staff using the new kitchen equipment. Our dedicated colleagues were quite proud of the results of their involvement and grateful for the support from the Community Program. Vanderlei Dias described their feelings by saying: ‘After this experience we all had the feeling of delivering a great job which was done with lots of love and affection. The company deserves congratulations for the Community Program initiative; this way we can help children to have a better place to study and learn a new profession.'