Corporate Volunteering for Cameroon

Together with the PATRIZIA Foundation, eight PATRIZIA SE employees were in the PATRIZIA School Yaoundé in Cameroon from 02.04.2023 to 14.04.2023 to build a playground. It was the first trip for volunteers to go abroad. The eight volunteers had previously raised the required money of 60,000€ themselves.

On this page we present the project and the team. For the first time, the PATRIZIA Foundation also presents a travel blog, which has recorded the daily progress of the playground construction with pictures and information.


Construction drawing playground

The goal: a new playground in Yaoundé, Cameroon.

Day 1 – Departure and arrival

02.04.2023 – Augsburg, Berlin, Hamburg and Frankfurt – from here the volunteers arrived at Brussels International Airport at 11 am. So they all had to get up early to be there on time. Together with Otto from the PATRIZIA Foundation’s partner management, they then set off on the long flight to Yaoundé in Cameroon.

Fortunately, everyone had successfully passed the immigration and visa check. And the best thing: even all the luggage arrived. The anticipation of the coming weeks grew.

Upon arrival, it was the first time for most of them to be in Central Africa. The drive through the dark streets was exciting, especially for those who were seeing the surroundings for the first time. Finally arriving at the AirB’n’B accommodation, they were warmly welcomed by the landlady Helene in traditional dress and treated to a home-cooked meal.

After unpacking, it was time for everyone to finally go to bed and prepare for the next day.

Day 2 – Let’s do this

03.04.2023 – Early in the morning, the motivated volunteers set off for the school, which was about 3 km away – over sandy roads and the odd hill.

They were warmly welcomed at the school and were able to get a first impression of the “playground” – a concrete desert that was in urgent need of beautification.

The group was welcomed by the local volunteers, parents and teachers of the school, and also some children wanted to help directly. It was a great opportunity for the group to immerse themselves in the culture and get to know the local people.

Later, they met with the engineers from Kukuk e.V. and received a briefing on the equipment.
It was decided to install a rainwater drainage system, as Cameroon is the African country
with the most rain. It would be a shame if the tonnes of sand that the volunteers would shovel over the next two weeks were simply washed away. The group was ready for the challenges that awaited them and full of anticipation for the days ahead.

Day 3 – Every day we’re shoveling!

04.04.2023 – The shoveling work has begun. Many tons of sand and earth have to be moved. And most of the stone slabs on the construction site. Muscle power is in demand. The volunteers’ daily routine has been redefined: Get up, go to school, shovel, shovel, shovel. In the evening, there is a nice dinner with the engineers from KuKuK e.V., who planned the playground. And tomorrow: time to shovel, shovel, shovel. Welding and sawing are also on the agenda. There is no question of a holiday in Cameroon here. Many local volunteers are coming to help out.

Day 4 – More and more volunteers

05.04.2023 – The playground is taking shape, but there is still a long way to go. The climbing frame has its posts, more and more concrete slabs are coming away. What is especially nice is that more volunteers from the school show up every day than originally expected.
Up to 15 teachers, parents and young people from the school are working to finish their playground. The cooperation with local partners is very important to us, because only in
this way
‘our’ playground project can become an integral part of the local community.

Fun fact: Cameroon is the wettest country in Africa and our volunteers got really wet today. Fortunately, it was over 30 degrees and the sun shone afterwards.

An addendum: The playground is already being played on! Cameroon is a football country
and apparently the workers still have so much energy after their work that a game of PATRIZIA versus Locals is still possible in the evening.

Day 5 – Theme party: construction site

06.04.2023 – There’s something to celebrate today: Nele Hermann is celebrating her birthday. This year’s theme party: construction site. A lot has been done: you can finally see that the climbing frame is for climbing, small play huts are finished.
But there is still a lot missing – especially sand. In the evening, we went to a local bar together with colleagues from KuKuK e.V. The volunteers were allowed to take a look into the kitchen and taste real traditional Cameroonian food, stewed in banana
leaves. In the In the course of the evening, the stage was taken and the locals were serenaded with German songs.
A very nice evening.   

Day 6 to 8 – A trip together

09.04.2023 – Cameroon is a religious country and working on the highest Christian holiday
is a no-go for our volunteers. What to do? Cameroon is also a tropical country with access
to the sea. So our volunteers used their 3 days break to go to the beach.

After a drive of several hours in scorching heat to Kribi, with numerous police checks and
a beautiful overland drive, the crew enjoyed a well-deserved beach day in the fishing village
of Kribi on the Atlantic Ocean. Another good opportunity to get to know the country comprehensively.

On the way back to Yaoundé, they were finally able to welcome Ines Sokolowski, who could only join them now due to a Corona infection.

Happy birthday to Carina Kraft and a big thank you for being there for our children on your birthday. (Sunday, 10.4.)

The group is now stronger and with an extra pair of hands ready to go full throttle for the
last 5 days on the playground. The playground project must be completed by Friday!

A playground for Youndé, Cameroon.

Day 9 – The final spurt begins

10.04.2023 – The team is complete! All eight volunteers are back at the construction site after their beach day – because Easter Monday is not a holiday in Cameroon. So they are drilling, milling, shovelling and hammering again.

Day 10 – Slide, playhouses and balance

11.04.2023 – You can see it: It’s going to be a playground. Even though the troop is a bit battered, it is progressing with giant steps.

More gadgets to play with: the new slide in the new climbing frame, small playhouses and the demarcation of the sand playground. The balancing path is also taking shape.

The cooperation with the local volunteers is more than harmonious. And of course everything has already been subjected to an extensive stress test. German-Cameroonian thoroughness.

Day 11 – A rainy day in Cameroon

12.04.2023 – As already mentioned: Cameroon is the African country with the most rainfall. And today was a rainy day. There is no sunshine, but light raindrops again and again, which colour the ground red. Unfortunately, we have some stomach upsets and some of the volunteers have to take a rest day to recover. The deep immersion into another (food) culture sometimes has its pitfalls. We wish you all a speedy recovery! 

Day 12 – It’s done

13.04.2023 – In Cameroon it is still the Easter holidays and the pupils were not disturbed by the construction noise. Today our volunteers were allowed to tour the school. Visits came today from some high school students and they inspected the classrooms, the library, the ICT Lab, the science facilities and the roof. The PATRIZIA School Yaoundé goes from the little ones to the upper school.

And it is indeed done: the playground will be finished today. Screws are still being tightened here and there, load tests are being carried out and shovelling is being done. Tomorrow, the playground will be ceremoniously inaugurated together with the children. What an achievement by the PATRIZIA volunteers and the local helpers! Many thanks on behalf of the children!!!

The project

About 350 children currently attend the primary school and another 250 the secondary school of PATRIZIA KinderHaus in Yaoundé. A kindergarten and a parish of the partner organisation Pallotine Mission are also directly adjacent. Thanks to the donations, the children there have had access to education since 2016. With the planned playground, a place for the primary school children to play and let off steam on the 400m² school grounds is now to be created. Especially at this age, play and movement are important for physical development and building social skills. The idea for the project thus fits into the Essence of Learning concept, a pedagogical methodology that is already being used at the school in Yaoundé. This is intended to enable self-responsible learning by being strongly oriented towards the child’s stage of development.

The team

Giancarlo Tosto

Charity Run

Job title
Group Reporting & Consolidation

My Spirit Animal:
Capuchin monkey

Why this is my Spirit Animal:
I am very active and love to climb on things

My hobbies:
Tennis, football, running, fitness, reading books and newspapers, family and friends, eating delicious food, volunteering

Why I am involved with the PATRIZIA Foundation:
We are lucky to have grown up in such privileged circumstances. That’s why I want to help children who are not doing so well.

That’s what I expect:
To create great things together!

That is what I look forward to the most:
That we, as a team, make it possible for many children to have a place where they can have carefree fun.

Info about Giancarlo

Benedikt Kohl

Charity Run

Job Title:
Senior Associate Fund Taxes at PATRIZIA Immobilien KVG mbH.

My Spirit Animal:

Why this is my Spirit Animal:
He is calm but not to be underestimated, can find his way and adapt in new and unknown situations; is curious.

My Hobbies:
Skiing, travelling, good food

Why I am involved in the PATRIZIA Foundation:
I want to support this great project with my commitment and thus give something back.

What I expect:
Strenuous work on our construction site, getting to know a culture that is new to me and doing something good.

That’s what I’m looking forward to the most:
Happy children’s eyes when our playground is finished.

Info about Benedikt

Carina Kraft

Charity Run

Job title
Senior Associate Asset Management

My Spirit Animal:

Why this is my Spirit Animal:
Lions are herd animals, very sociable, protective of their family, always loyal and can sleep up to 20 hours a day.

My hobbies:
Sports, cooking, cycling, exploring the world, friends and family, gardening the balcony.

Why I am involved with the PATRIZIA Foundation:
Not every child is lucky enough to grow up in a functional world. We can make the difference.

That’s what I expect:
An exciting time, lots of sore muscles and even more experience.

This is what I am looking forward to the most:
The closing party, when the children explore their new playground.

Info about Carina

Ines Sokolowski

Charity Run

Job title:
Associate Director Asset Management

My Spirit Animal:

Why this is my Spirit Animal:
Sloths are known for their hanging lifestyle, slow movements as well as long rests

My hobbies:
Spending time in nature, like to ride my horse; otherwise hiking, travelling, swimming in the lake or sea and enjoying the sun & fresh air

Why I am involved with the PATRIZIA Foundation:
It gives us the opportunity to do good and spread happiness.

What I expect:
Lots of new impressions, teamwork and a great playground at the end.

That’s what I’m looking forward to the most:
Happy children playing

Info about Ines

Nele Hermann

Charity Run

Job title:
Associate Transactions Value-Add

My Spirit Animal:

Why this is my Spirit Animal:
Elephants form a unique community with close family ties. They are very in need of harmony and despite their size, they are very gentle and provide a sense of security.

My hobbies:
Spending time with friends and family, cooking and eating together, travelling, swimming, hiking, cycling.

Why I am involved with the PATRIZIA Foundation:
It gives me the chance to make a difference on a social level as well as to pass on joy.

What I expect:
To build something with our own hands that will hopefully create great value for the children!

That is what I am looking forward to the most:
Happy children when they see the finished playground.

Info about Nele

Stefan Egger

Charity Run

Job title:
AIFM Controlling

My Spirit Animal:

Why this is my Spirit Animal:
Moves as smoothly and nimbly as I do *haha*.

My hobbies:
Football, running, cycling, hiking, travelling and spending time with friends

Why I’m involved with the PATRIZIA Foundation:
It’s a great thing that we can help children who can’t grow up in such good circumstances as we did.

That’s what I expect:
I hope that we can put a smile on the children’s faces with this campaign.

That is what I am looking forward to the most:
Seeing the children play on the playground for the first time.

Info about Stefan

Christina Lutz

Charity Run

Job title:
Head of Investor Relations at “PATRIZIA GrundInvest KVG”.

That’s what I do there every day:
Being nice to investors and colleagues. Every now and then I have cake for the team.

My Spirit Animal:

Why this is my Spirit Animal:
The internet knows, “…their athletic build allows them to reach top speeds.”

My hobbies:
Running fast, road cycling, spending time with friends, family and inspiring people, cooking/baking, time in the beer garden, always up for some good vino

Why I am involved with the PATRIZIA Foundation:
This is my third year getting involved with the Foundation (including organising the annual Remote Run). The work is fun and meaningful.

That is what I expect:
I see what the money raised is used for. My view of a culture that was previously foreign to me will be broadened.

That’s what I’m looking forward to the most:
Getting to know a new culture.

Info about Christina

Michael Birner

Charity Run

Job title
SAP Basis Administrator at PATRIZIA SE

My Spirit Animal:
since recently – Wolf

Why this is my Spirit Animal:
Because Eva said “Great Danes are stupid” 😉

My hobbies:
MTB & road biking, backpacking, driving and tinkering with my vintage Cinquecento, carpentry, baking pizza, spending time with friends and family.

Why I am involved with the PATRIZIA Foundation:
I have always wanted to participate in building social projects. What could be better than a playground in Cameroon?

That’s what I expect:
An exhausting but fulfilling job at the playground and lots of new experiences.

What I am looking forward to the most:
To immerse myself in a new culture and, hopefully, to look into the beaming eyes of children at the end.

Info about Michael

Corporate volunteering for your company

In the world of work, social engagement is becoming increasingly important and is already firmly anchored in the business model of many companies. With volunteering, also known as corporate volunteering, companies promote the social commitment of their employees. They benefit from two major advantages: Firstly, the company makes a contribution to solving social problems and secondly, an economic benefit can be achieved through corporate volunteering.

Corporate volunteering with benefits for all participants

A company that integrates corporate volunteering into its corporate culture benefits in several ways. In addition to strengthening the company’s reputation, the commitment also serves to retain and attract customers. Furthermore, the company’s reputation in the public sphere is improved. And internally, corporate volunteering also results in benefits: employee loyalty, employer branding and the acquisition of talent secure the future of the company.

Young workers in particular are looking for a job with a sense of purpose and responsible employers. Because the opportunities to live out social commitment in the company also bring clear advantages for each individual. For example, social skills and teamwork are promoted.

PATRIZIA employees support

We would like to thank our supporters!

Katrin Halboth

Sandra von Waldenfels
Donor Relations & Services
Business Development
+49 821 50910-157

Are you interested in coroporate volunteering? We will be happy to advise you!

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