Bayer employees support various social and healthcare projects throughout the world in the “Consulting for Society” foundation program. Tobias Ludwig got involved in a children’s home in South America.
For Tobias Ludwig, switching from being a management consultant to childcare worker at a children’s home was a valuable experience. The biochemist swapped his management consultant job at Bayer Business Consulting in Berlin to help out for three months at the children’s home and youth center Hogar de Niños Santa Cruz in Bolivia. “I was given a very warm welcome by the children, children’s home staff and colleagues at Bayer Bolivia,” says Ludwig.
The institution is run by Amigonian monks. However, the home doesn’t just offer young people shelter and hot meals but also training and leisure opportunities. “I spent a great deal of time with the children, helping them with homework and teaching them yoga. But my work also included helping out in the kitchen,” says Ludwig. “The children’s life stories are sometimes very shocking. So I was even more impressed by the openness they showed to me as a stranger.”
Ludwig lived with other volunteers directly at the children’s home. One joint project that the volunteers carried out with the children was the transformation of a small piece of land into a garden. “It isn’t till you get involved personally that you realize how much work needs to be done before the sowing – for example, building fences and an irrigation system. I really enjoyed the practical work,” says Ludwig. Working with the children and colleagues from Bayer Bolivia, he sowed and planted fruit and vegetables on the prepared ground for use by the children’s home itself and for sale. “One particular challenge was to explain to the children what exactly had to be done and why and to motivate the young people for a project over a lengthy period,” explains Ludwig.
Ludwig also took care of the PR work for a professional training program at the children’s home: “We created a website and with the aid of the local chamber of commerce and industry made companies in Santa Cruz aware of the program and tried to attract partners. Only a few companies know about the program,” says Ludwig. He’s in no doubt: “My time in Bolivia was a fantastic experience and I also had the opportunity to contribute to a valuable cause.”