We support social commitment

worldwide and with heartfelt pleasure

Helpfulness - A question of honour

Not so long ago, a young man sat in the office of our managing director Michael Deiß and asked for support for his project.

Initiated by the Friends of Waldorf Education, he would like to spend a year abroad in Sao Paulo with other young people from all over the world to promote the initiative of the favela inhabitants and help them to develop their own potential. To realise this project, he needs a not inconsiderable budget. So he has to do a lot of canvassing and convincing.

Since Michael Deiß knows and appreciates both the project and Nick Queener, it was quickly decided that eggs unimedia would like to support this social commitment.

Why? Because helpfulness is the corporate value that is at the forefront of the colleagues at eggs unimedia.  Even in everyday working life, people help each other out, find solutions together and support each other. Reason enough to signal to Nick that he is on exactly the right track with his plans and commitment. 

On 24 August, his plane took off – a great moment. What will he take with him at the end of this mission in South America? Who will he help and where are the challenges? He will send us a short report from time to time about his work in the favelas of South America and we will accompany his mission not only monetarily, but also with a good portion of respect.

Nick auf dem Weg nach Brasilien
Einsatzort Brasilien

About Friends of Rudolf Steiner's Art of Education

Founded in 1971, the institution pursues its goal of supporting Waldorf education also in countries where there is no state funding for Waldorf schools. The aim is to shape education and teaching without state intervention and to support families without financial means.

More than 600 institutions are supported worldwide, including schools and kindergartens, curative education institutes, social work initiatives and training institutions.

Since 2006, the Friends of Waldorf Education have been active in the field of emergency education, which is dedicated to the psychosocial stabilisation of children and young people in war and disaster areas; so far, over 25 missions have taken place in nine countries.

About the Associacao Communitária Monte Azul project in Sao Paulo/Brazil

Since 1979, the Associacao Communitária Monte Azul has been working in Sao Paulo to help people from various favelas find a way out of the vicious circle of unemployment, few educational opportunities, drugs and violence.

Several thousand people find a variety of services here, which are supported by about 300 staff members, 70 Brazilian volunteers and about 18 international volunteers per year.

The focus is on favelas such as Monte Azul, Peinha and Horizonte Azul, where Nick will live and work.

Schulhaus in Sao Paulo
Klassenzimmer Sao Paulo

Much has already been achieved in recent years. For example, a hospital ward and a birth centre have been built, many kindergartens and toddler groups, youth care, a Waldorf school, a music school, offers for people with disabilities and a cultural centre have been created. In addition, there are initiatives for social development, environment, culture, slum rehabilitation, educational work and much more.

Message from Nick: The first three months

12/2022: I have been here in São Paulo for almost three months now and a lot has happened. Especially the first few weeks were very exciting and every day was exhilarating. I was impressed by how warmly I was greeted and welcomed by everyone here. I especially remember the children's reaction very well, as they threw themselves straight at me and wanted to show me the whole facility straight away. In general, my first week was all about getting to know the facility first.

Zu Monte Azul gehören insgesamt 3 Einrichtungen: die Haupteinrichtung Monte Azul, Peinha and my placement Horizonte Azul. While the other two places are more centrally located in São Paulo and are partly integrated directly into the favelas of the same name, the surroundings around Horizonte Azul are more rural in comparison. More nature and better air are definitely advantages at my place of work, but a disadvantage is the long distance to the main institution and the centre, as it takes at least an hour by bus to get to the southernmost metro station, sometimes 1.5 hours depending on traffic. However, you quickly get used to the long distances within the city and the unfamiliar surroundings and crazy bus drivers make the journeys always exciting. Nevertheless, we often use the cheap option Uber because the buses are very full, as most people commute from the periphery into the city. Shorter rides are available from the equivalent of €1.20 and are thus often cheaper than the bus.

Especially at the beginning of my service, however, a major problem emerged in everyday life: a lack of knowledge of Portuguese. Every person you met - no matter where - was very interested in talking to you. About who you are, what you do and where you come from. You hear these questions very often, as European-looking people are hardly ever seen in the periphery. Unfortunately, during the first 6 weeks I could understand almost nothing and could hardly answer the questions. As time went on and I practiced a lot at home, I started to get better and better. After about 2 months, I was already able to have smaller conversations about simpler things and by now I understand most of my conversation partners and can talk about more complex topics such as politics and culture. Nevertheless, I would recommend everyone to prepare themselves better linguistically for a voluntary social year, because you save yourself a lot of time and frustration. There is still some way to go before I can really speak fluently, and I am curious to see what I can say about my language skills after another 3 months.

The aforementioned was especially problematic at work in the beginning, as I could hardly take on any tasks and rarely understood what the children wanted from me. My normal working day is like this:

At 6:30 in the morning my alarm clock rings and I get up, take a shower and have some breakfast. At 7:20 I have to leave the house and after about 7 minutes I am at my workplace. At 7:30, most of the children are already there and we sing songs together to start the day and say a prayer. Afterwards, the children have breakfast, usually simple things like crackers with some kind of cream cheese and tea or cocoa. Then, depending on the time, there is a joint activity such as painting or handicrafts, or the children have free time and play on the grounds. There are 2 football pitches, a large playground and table tennis tables. However, the football fields are especially used, where I watch the children during playtime and often play a little football with them myself.

Fußball spielen

For the most part, this part of the day is very relaxed, but sometimes it can be very stressful when the children argue with each other and even fight. However, this rarely happens and I can usually settle small arguments quickly. At 11:00 a.m. we have lunch, on 4 out of 5 days beans with rice and salad and a side dish like boiled eggs or meat, and once a week there is a dish with noodles. Afterwards, the children are dismissed and go to school. In Brazil, there is not enough space in the schools for all the children to go to school at the same time, but they take turns. One group is in class in the morning, the other in the afternoon. One day a month there is cake for everyone and there is singing for the children who have had a birthday since the last time. 

My afternoon is identical, but with a different class. One day a week I spend in the kindergarten with 2 to 4 year olds. In the beginning it was a bit difficult for me because toddlers often wet their pants and can't blow their own noses, but now I'm used to it and it's a lot of fun there because the children are also very cute. 

Thursday afternoon is the highlight of the working week, because there I go to the school garden together with the other German volunteer and we cut down banana trees or process bamboo together on the huge grounds. It's especially nice because the people there are super nice and always show us new plants or animals that don't exist in Germany. All in all, I really enjoy the work and I love going there every day.

And there is also something like free time.São Paulo is huge and has a lot to offer.The nightlife is also exciting and I've had many nice evenings with the other volunteers and other people from here. The Pinheiros, Villa Madalena and everything around Avenida Paulista, which is also called the new centre, are particularly good places to go out. Unlike in the periphery, queer people can live out their lives there quite openly and are accepted by everyone, even more than is the case in Germany.

But the absolute highlight so far would be my trip to the beach "prainha branca", where I spent the weekend and the 2 holidays. Our hostel was in a jungle-like environment and only 10 minutes away from the beach, which looked like a postcard motif.With 9 other people, I was able to enjoy four wonderful days there with great weather.

Nick am Strand

Another activity that I really enjoy is the Capoiera training, which I go to 3 times a week. There I learn martial arts/dance but also how to sing and play traditional instruments like the berimbau.Yesterday was a very special day in my group because the so-called baptism took place. This is when new members who have been with the group for a while get their green belt. They have to join the roda (circle) of the capoiera and compete against the masters, who are not squeamish about them. In addition, other capoierista get the next higher belts when they have improved. My goal is to get the green belt before I fly back to Germany, which is the first one you get, but it's not just a gift. You have to show certain skills in martial arts, singing and playing instruments.

So much for my first report. I'll be back in three months.