During a trip to Buenos Aires, Michael Henn was moved by the misery he encountered. Determined to make a change, he founded Kinderhilfe Buenos Aires upon his return to Germany.
"En..desde…y para la vida!"
This is the slogan of Conviven, a social and youth centre founded by a Brazilian missionary on the outskirts of Buenos Aires. The objective of this organisation, which is financed completely through donations, is to help families in slums, and improve the educational opportunities of children and young people by establishing kindergartens, providing tutoring services and creating study groups.
During a sabbatical, I worked for Conviven as a German and English teacher. During this time, I also helped the kids in “Villa 15” get a photo project off the ground. It was very important for me to see and analyse the situation first hand and contribute my experience to their projects.
When I first arrived, I was shocked of the living conditions in this section of the city that was more a shanty town with many small huts than a global metropolis. The children there are faced with drugs and crime on a daily basis and have few opportunities to leave it behind.
During my time there, I developed a close bond to the children and also to Conviven employees. They showed me a level of gratefulness and friendliness that I have not experienced anywhere else.
When I look back, I can truly say that my sabbatical had a very positive effect on both me and those I was able to help. It also changed my way of thinking and showed me what is really important in life, as well as what social perils still exist in the world.
It is this experience that has led to my conviction to continue my efforts on my return to Germany.
I founded the “Kinderhilfe Buenos Aires” charity with the primary goal of collecting donations for Conviven in Buenos Aires together with my brother Daniel who has also been involved in various social projects in developing countries such as Honduras and South Africa.