Associação Comunitária Monte Azul

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Monte Azul logo Logo Monte Azul.jpg
Monte Azul logo
Ute Craemer, Paulo lgnacio and Renate Keller-Ignacio, the initiators of the Associacao Comunitaria Monte Azul in Sao Paulo, Brazil Ute, Paul, Renate.jpg
Ute Craemer, Paulo lgnacio and Renate Keller-Ignacio, the initiators of the Associação Comunitária Monte Azul in São Paulo, Brazil
Monte Azul Favela Monte Azul.JPG
Monte Azul

The Associação Comunitária Monte Azul is a Brazilian NGO that is active in three Favelas in the southern part of São Paulo, M'Boi Mirim / Campo Limpo. The organisation was founded in 1979 by the German Waldorf teacher Ute Craemer together with the residents of the Favela Monte Azul. In the 1980s the work spread to the Favela Peinha nearby and to Horizonte Azul on the southern edge of the city. The project is a successful example in sustainable Development cooperation between equal partners.

Brazil Federal republic in South America

Brazil, officially the Federative Republic of Brazil, is the largest country in both South America and Latin America. At 8.5 million square kilometers and with over 208 million people, Brazil is the world's fifth-largest country by area and the fifth most populous. Its capital is Brasília, and its most populated city is São Paulo. The federation is composed of the union of the 26 states, the Federal District, and the 5,570 municipalities. It is the largest country to have Portuguese as an official language and the only one in the Americas; it is also one of the most multicultural and ethnically diverse nations, due to over a century of mass immigration from around the world.

Favela Shanty town or slum in Brazil

A favela is a unique, low and middle-income, and unregulated neighborhood in Brazil that has experienced historical governmental neglect. The first favela, now known as Providência in the center of Rio de Janeiro, appeared in the late 19th century, built by soldiers who had nowhere to live following the Canudos War. Some of the first settlements were called bairros africanos. Over the years, many former enslaved Africans moved in. Even before the first favela came into being, poor citizens were pushed away from the city and forced to live in the far suburbs. However, most modern favelas appeared in the 1970s due to rural exodus, when many people left rural areas of Brazil and moved to cities. Unable to find places to live, many people found themselves in favelas. Census data released in December 2011 by the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE) showed that in 2010, about 6 percent of the Brazilian population lived in slums.

São Paulo Metropolis in Brazil

São Paulo is a municipality in the Southeast Region of Brazil. The metropolis is an alpha global city and the most populous city in Brazil, the Western Hemisphere and the Southern Hemisphere, besides being the largest Portuguese-speaking city in the world. The municipality is also the world's 12th largest city proper by population. The city is the capital of the surrounding state of São Paulo, the most populous and wealthiest state in Brazil. It exerts strong international influences in commerce, finance, arts and entertainment. The name of the city honors the Apostle, Saint Paul of Tarsus. The city's metropolitan area, the Greater São Paulo, ranks as the most populous in Brazil and the 12th most populous on Earth. The process of conurbation between the metropolitan areas located around the Greater São Paulo created the São Paulo Macrometropolis, a megalopolis with more than 30 million inhabitants, one of the most populous urban agglomerations in the world.


The organisation's main areas of work are slum renovation, Education and further education for children and young people, culture, health care and environmental conservation. The Associação Comunitária Monte Azul today has more than 260 employees and receives around 70 overseas volunteers per year, 20 of these from other countries, in particular Germany.

Education Learning in which knowledge and skills is transferred through teaching

Education is the process of facilitating learning, or the acquisition of knowledge, skills, values, beliefs, and habits. Educational methods include storytelling, discussion, teaching, training, and directed research. Education frequently takes place under the guidance of educators, however learners may also educate themselves. Education can take place in formal or informal settings and any experience that has a formative effect on the way one thinks, feels, or acts may be considered educational. The methodology of teaching is called pedagogy.

Further education in the United Kingdom and Ireland is education in addition to that received at secondary school, that is distinct from the higher education (HE) offered in universities and other academic institutions. It may be at any level in compulsory secondary education, from entry to higher level qualifications such as awards, certificates, diplomas and other vocational, competency-based qualifications through awarding organisations including City and Guilds, Edexcel (BTEC) and OCR. FE colleges may also offer HE qualifications such as HNC, HND, Foundation Degree or PGCE. The colleges are also a large provider of apprenticeships, where most of the training takes place in the apprentices' workplace with some day release into college.

Culture Social behavior and norms found in society

Culture is the social behavior and norms found in human societies.


Favela Monte Azul in 1981 Monte Azul 1960.jpg
Favela Monte Azul in 1981
Renovation through community work of the residents. Monte Azul 1962.jpg
Renovation through community work of the residents.
Art education, including traditionel indigenous artwork, is an integral part of the organisation Buu malt.JPG
Art education, including traditionel indigenous artwork, is an integral part of the organisation
An orchestra with children and youths of the Favela. The instruments originate mainly from German donors Orchester.JPG
An orchestra with children and youths of the Favela. The instruments originate mainly from German donors
One of the nursery schools houses ten Kindergarten groups and an organic kitchen. Kindergarten Monte Azul.JPG
One of the nursery schools houses ten Kindergarten groups and an organic kitchen.
The organisation aims to foster children, no matter what situation they come from. This includes the fine motor control of Kindern in Favelas Kinder Monte Azul.JPG
The organisation aims to foster children, no matter what situation they come from. This includes the fine motor control of Kindern in Favelas
Cultural centre of the community organisation Monte Azul in Sao Paulo Centro Cultural Monte Azul.JPG
Cultural centre of the community organisation Monte Azul in São Paulo
The theatre in the Favela Peinha near Monte Azul. Peinha.JPG
The theatre in the Favela Peinha near Monte Azul.

The Favela Monte Azul, which has around 3000 residents, was established in the 1970s during the period of rapid urbanisation due to the rural depopulation from North-eastern Brazil and the provinces Minas Gerais and Paraná. Through the project, by means of which Ute Craemer wished to awaken some social awareness amongst her students at the Waldorf school, she came into contact with the children of the Favela. It began with afternoon care in Ms Craemer's own home. Out of this impulse to build a bridge between the different classes of Society, a project began that is still growing and continually incorporates new aspects. At present there are an estimated 32,000 people benefitting from the work of Monte Azul.

Minas Gerais State of Brazil

Minas Gerais is a state in the north of Southeastern Brazil. It ranks as the second most populous, the third by gross domestic product (GDP), and the fourth largest by area in the country. The state's capital and largest city, Belo Horizonte, is a major urban and finance center in Latin America, and the sixth largest municipality in Brazil, after the cities of São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Salvador, Brasilia and Fortaleza, but its metropolitan area is the third largest in Brazil with just over 5,800,000 inhabitants, after those of São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. Nine Brazilian presidents were born in Minas Gerais, the most of any state.

Monte Azul has become an example for Development Aid and a model for many similar social projects that have come about in Brazil, such as the street theatre group Paidéia, [1] the cultural and social centre Aramitán [2] in São Paulo oder the NGO Associação Comunitária de Barra de Lama. [3] Northern Brazil.


There are some 1350 children and young people between the ages of four months and 21 years being cared for by the créches, nursery schools, training workshops and a local Waldorf school, the work being based on the principles of Waldorf education and Anthroposophy. A further 80 people with Special Needs are cared for in another training workshop. One of the principles of the Associação Comunitária Monte Azul is to not just communicate knowledge but rather to facilitate a comprehensive education for their children and young people that enables them to take their lives into their own hands, encouraging them to change the harsh realities that surround them.

Anthroposophy philosophy founded by Rudolf Steiner

Anthroposophy is a philosophy founded in the early 20th-century by esotericist Rudolf Steiner that postulates the existence of an objective, intellectually comprehensible spiritual world, accessible to human experience. Followers of anthroposophy aim to develop mental faculties of spiritual discovery through a mode of thought independent of sensory experience. They also aim to present their ideas in a manner verifiable by rational discourse and specifically seek a precision and clarity in studying the spiritual world mirroring that obtained by natural historians in investigations of the physical world.


Through re-enlivening and cultivating local cultural traditions the feeling of self-worth and confidence of the people is strengthened. Through meeting with foreign cultures their horizon is broadened, their consciousness stimulated and they nurture a culture based on peace. In all of its three centres, Monte Azul has theatre and conference rooms as well as libraries so as to give people access to cultural content. A variety of courses, further education, theatrical and musical events take place there, with around 600 people a month participating.

Besides this, they run a music school where children and young people from the Favela are able to learn string instruments, to play in an orchestra and to sing in the choir.

Teacher enrichment

From the start it was essential to further educate and train the co-workers, for they themselves had grown up in the Favela. In this way a culture of study and further education developed that has become a hallmark of Monte Azul.

There is a three-year in-service training programme in Waldorf education that they call by the Indian name for the hummingbird: “Mainumby”. In this way the co-workers of public organisations can train as Waldorf teachers for the accreditation of which they are currently in negotiation with the Brazilian government. In this way the Associação Comunitaria Monte Azul has become a gathering point for socially engaged people and educators. Basic training, internships, research and publication of didactic material and books, couselling in organisational, financial and professional issues for social workers, mentoring of university theses and other areas are increasingly a part of their professional involvement. A project in environmental education was implemented in collaboration with UNESCO as well as a pilot project in establishing women’s co-operatives. Besides this, each co-worker, also those with a university degree, does an apprenticeship in social work with the principle of lifelong learning in mind.

Hummingbird Family of birds

Hummingbirds are birds native to the Americas and constitute the biological family Trochilidae. They are the smallest of birds, most species measuring 7.5–13 cm (3–5 in) in length. The smallest extant bird species is the 5 cm (2.0 in) bee hummingbird, which weighs less than 2.0 g (0.07 oz).

UNESCO Specialised agency of the United Nations

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization is a specialized agency of the United Nations (UN) based in Paris, France. Its declared purpose is to contribute to promoting international collaboration in education, sciences, and culture in order to increase universal respect for justice, the rule of law, and human rights along with fundamental freedom proclaimed in the United Nations Charter. It is the successor of the League of Nations' International Committee on Intellectual Cooperation.


In Monte Azul’s Ambulatório or clinic, the residents of the Favela as well as those of the neighbouring communities receive treatment free of charge. General practitioners, pediatricians, orthopaedic surgeons, dentists, psychologists and psychiatrists are available for consultation. Treatment takes place on a holistic basis extended through anthroposophical medicine.

In the Casa Angela, a maternity home and centre for mother-and-child health care, women and their families receive medical care and guidance through pregnancy, birth and pre and ante-natal issues throughout the first year of the child. The Casa Angela is the first officially licensed birthing centre in Brazil. It aims to improve the poor level of obstetrics care for low-income families and resist the extremely high rate of caesarians in Brazil.

The Casa da Trilha treats people with addiction and psychiatric problems. Besides this, Monte Azul is a partner of the city of São Paulo in the programme Estratégia Saúde da Família, being responsible for the municipality of São Luís in which live some 320,000 people. The aim of the programme is to try to improve the general medical care of the population.

Environmental education

Bio-dynamic garden in Horizonte Azul that provides the Associacao Comunitaria Monte Azul with its fruit and vegetables. Orta.JPG
Bio-dynamic garden in Horizonte Azul that provides the Associação Comunitária Monte Azul with its fruit and vegetables.

From the beginning, environmental awareness played a central role. Fruit and vegetables are grown in Horizonte Azul without the use of pesticides and are delivered to the kitchens at Monte Azul, ensuring a balanced and healthy diet for the children.

By organising community projects the residents of Monte Azul cleared the area of garbage, introduced re-cycling and built a sewerage system. In spite of there being no municipal re-cycling the Favela independently runs a centre where garbage collectors (Catadores) can deliver their waste. They have entered into a collaboration on waste research with the Technical University of Berlin. [4]

Cultural centre

In all three areas of activity of the Associação there are stage and dance performances, musical and other artistic presentations. In the Centro Cultural Monte Azul the residents of the Favela and neighbouring suburbs direct their own productions. They can attend concerts, plays and shows of well-known Brazilian and international artists, usually about eight to ten per month.

Besides the productions, courses in dance and sport are offered. Associação hires drama teachers and actors who stage professional productions in theatre workshops with the Favela residents that they normally perform twice a year.

Concept and co-worker guidance

Once a month all 260 co-workers meet (without the co-workers of the primary health care centres) in one of the three Favelas, mostly in the Cultural Centre of Monte Azul for enrichment and art courses and for cultural exchange. Mostly something from the work of Waldorf education is presented and performed. New co-workers and new international volunteers are welcomed or wished goodbye if their period of service has come to an end.

Through these regular meetings a feeling of community and the vision of its activities is cultivated and through creative activities new solutions are found for existing problems. Every second week the co-workers of each Favela meet internally for an afternoon of similar activities.

To a large extent the organisation has been structured without a hierarchy and is led by a process of consensus. This means that all co-workers can be a party to decisions and take responsibility for the whole. Within this structure aspects of Joseph Beuys’s “Social Sculpture" and the ideas on Social threefolding of Rudolf Steiner are realised. In this sense each co-worker is free within his or her own sphere of work and can shape it in the manner he or she feels comfortable with. In addition, further work on Waldorf education is studied.



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  1. "São Paulo Paideia". Retrieved October 3, 2013.
  2. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-12-08. Retrieved 2014-12-06.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  3. "Associação Comunitária de Barra de Lama – Gameleira (PE)". Associação Comunitária de Barra de Lama - Gameleira (PE).
  4. "Projekt Lap's go". Zusammenarbeit Entwickeln.

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