Brazil: ARCO is a relief organisation founded in 1991 in Sao Paulo. Today the initiative assists and educates more than 500 children and teenagers aged 1-21, coming from disadvantaged backgrounds. With the help of various ways of social work the institution puts in a lot of effort to support the poorest of the poor with the broadest care they can possibly give. This should help those in need to embrace their lives in a brave and dynamic way. Part of the initiative is the home Casa Iris, the kindergarten (121 children), an afternoon assistance facility for kids falling under compulsory education and the program reading, writing and arithmetic with quality.
Alessandra (24), mother of a small girl, has just finished her studies in Brazilian language and literature; Ana Cristina (23) is in the middle of a schooling program in graphic design, 121 children are being prepared for school and another 209 are being supported every afternoon in order to keep managing the challenges of school.
These are the kind of sentences found in reports, describing the successful work of ARCO. It is only with the help of all the donors, sponsors and the “Friends of Waldorf Education” that the initiative can continue this story of success. However, not only small children and school kids profit of the work of ARCO. A project financed by the government allows ARCO to accommodate 50 teenagers aged 16-19 in order to give them a practical apprenticeship and schooling for a future work perspective. Thanks to this program the teenagers improve their reading and writing skills which give them a better chance in entrance exams for an apprenticeship training position. Furthermore ARCO is able to assist older teenagers transferring them to better public schools since 2004/05.
In November 2007 the co-workers of ARCO celebrate in exaltation: just a moment ago news arrived that ARCO won the first price of “Fundo Itaú de Excelência Social” for their work with kindergarten- and pre-school kids. Now is the time to take a deep breath as the price allows the institution to employ an additional social worker, who will help to involve the parents in a much better way. Furthermore a psychological educator can be employed in order to help emotionally profoundly scarred children.
Year after year it remains unsure whether ARCO is able to finance all their impulses. It always is a huge relief if large donations or a price, like in 2007, give a project financial security for a longer period of time. In 2009 for example it seemed like the planned camp and the school-outing had to be cancelled due to lack of money. Usually these events are realized with the help of volunteers of the “weltwärts”-support-program. Through the support of the “Friends of Waldorf Education” the necessary means could be covered in a last-minute campaign. Thanks to this generous help a lot of children were able to see the ocean for the very first time in their lives.