Associação Semeando Amor, a charity in São Paulo, Brazil, supports local children who are growing up in the favelas. The charity runs a school which caters for children aged between two months and twelve years old. As a result of time passing and the school community growing, the school building is no longer fit for purpose. Through the K2 Foundation, a charity which supports children whose futures are bleak or uncertain, K2 is rebuilding the school so that it can continue to provide a safe, educational space for local children. Client Services Consultant Ana Paduan, who introduced K2 to Associação Semeando Amor, comments on the value of the school to the local community: “I believe that the school is a place of refuge for the children, preventing them from falling into the world of crime, because unfortunately that is the most common scenario for a child or teenager in this location.”
In designing the new school, we wanted to create an environment which was much more than a simple and traditional educational space. We wanted to create a space in which the children have the opportunity to relax and to have fun – to play music, dance and play in an outdoor environment that is green, clean and safe. Consequently, alongside classrooms and a library, our design includes sensory spaces and multipurpose rooms which enable us to maximise the potential of the limited space that we have available to us, ensuring that the children have the opportunity to participate in as many different activities as possible.
Alongside representatives from K2 Brazil and K2 USA, a team of builders broke ground on 3rd April of this year. After leaving the site, Phil Hunt, Managing Director – Americas, went to visit the children and volunteers in the existing school building. The children had been told that they were getting a new school and had been asked to draw what they thought the school was going to look like. Their drawings were beautiful – although they were all different, each and every one of them was full of colour. Touched by their vision, Phil reached out to the school’s architect and asked him to introduce as much additional colour as he possibly could into his design.
Discussing the project, Phil comments that “it is very exciting for K2 to be in this position. To have the ability to make a really positive impact on the lives of these children. What struck me most when visiting the existing school is just how happy the children were, despite the fact that their lives are so different from ours – something to consider the next time we get frustrated because the WiFi is down, our cell phone has run out of charge or there’s a long queue for a Starbucks. The happiness of those children was inspiring, a little bit overwhelming, and extremely humbling. Knowing that we are in a position to take that inherent happiness and build on it is truly wonderful.” Ana sums it up beautifully: “To see the look on those children’s faces, to see their innocent smiles – it just made me want to help.”