After arriving in Sao Paulo, Renault's Fernando Alonso took time to visit Monte Azul, a UNICEF-sponsored project in central Sao Paulo. The Monte Azul (meaning 'Blue Mountain') district of Sao Paulo lies in the southern part of South America's...
After arriving in Sao Paulo, Renault's Fernando Alonso took time to visit Monte Azul, a UNICEF-sponsored project in central Sao Paulo.
The Monte Azul (meaning 'Blue Mountain') district of Sao Paulo lies in the southern part of South America's most populous city, one of many favelas -- the local term for deprived slum neighbourhoods -- that crowd for space on the steep hillsides around the multi-lane highways that roar through the city.
For the past thirty years, Ute Craemer has been working with the children of these shantytowns through the Monte Azul Community Association (ACOMA), providing care for children at nursery, kindergarten, and pre-school levels, as well as extra-curricular youth groups for those children already in education, and a job preparatory workshop which gives young adults the skills they need to make a successful start in the professional world.
In all, nearly 1000 children participate in the association's activities, allowing children and families to build a solid community, and providing the children with the firm social and educational start their circumstances would otherwise deny them.
The Association is actively supported by the United Nations agency UNICEF, as part of its 'Beloved Child' project. It was through this organisation that Fernando Alonso, an Ambassador for the UNICEF Spanish Committee since February 2005, today visited the children of Monte Azul, to learn about the organisation's work and to meet some of his youngest and most enthusiastic fans.
"It is a privilege for me to be able to come here with an organisation like UNICEF, and to be able to use the famous name I have now to see projects like this and to bring them some more attention and recognition," commented the Spaniard. "I loved meeting the children today."
"For me, they were the biggest surprise, because when we come to somewhere like Monte Azul, we think that they have very little in terms of money or possessions. But all the children are just so happy -- they play, and laugh, and smile, and they don't see any of the things that we think they are missing."
"That is what really struck me today, projects like Monte Azul are making a difference to their lives and giving them the happiness that really matters."