São Paulo, a metropolis of 20 million inhabitants in southern Brazil, is characterized by extreme contrasts between rich and poor. To be born into poverty is to grow-up facing a future without prospects. About a quarter of the city's inhabitants are under 15 years old and an estimated 30 % of the population lives on the outskirts of São Paulo in the poor neighborhoods known as favelas. The SBA GIRASSOL Kids/Pro facility is located in Grajaú, on the southern boarder of the giant city. Around 600.000 people live in the district of Grajaú alone, about a quarter of them in the favela (reference 2020).
In 1992, Angelika Pohlmann and Gabi Schmid volunteered to take care of seven orphaned, neglected children in a favela in Grajaú. This developed into setting up a children's home, which was transformed into a daycare center in 2015: GIRASSOL Kids. In 2003, the training center – GIRASSOL Pro - was inaugurated, built with a donation from “Sternstunden e.V.”.
Almost 30 years ago, the founders christened their social project GIRASSOL, which translates from Portuguese to SUNFLOWER and which was to become a symbol of hope and the joy of life. From the humble beginnings, a facility grew that extends over an area of about 5,000m², covered with numerous buildings and interspersed with large, green play areas for the children.
GIRASSOL now employs 31 people and whenever a vacancy arises, priority is given to candidates from the immediate neighborhood, if they are equally qualified. With this approach, we open up perspectives for people (and their families!) who would otherwise have no prospect of adequately paid work. At the same time, this personnel policy promotes and strengthens the integration and acceptance of our facility in the socially weak, in part criminal, environment.
In the GIRASSOL-kitchen, more than 130 well balanced meals are freshly prepared every day at lunchtime, because in addition to our approximately 100 daycare and half-day care children, all employees also receive a free lunch.
The social project SBA GIRASSOL Kids/Pro is 100% privately financed by donations in Brazil and from abroad - mainly Germany. In order to be able to maintain the greatest possible independence, while complying with all legal requirements, we deliberately refrain from applying for any local public funds.
What has been achieved so far has reached a high standard and made GIRASSOL a lighthouse project.
Our monthly operating costs amount to € 35.000. It is a permanent challenge to raise funds beyond this amount in order to further develop the facility or to cover unforeseen expenses.