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Former Member
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I am part of the 11-person multi-national SAP Social Sabbatical team working for four weeks with social entrepreneurs and non-for-profits in Porto Alegre, Brazil. We call ourselves Team Transformers and our Twitter hash tag is #teamBrazilCSR. We are divided into 4 teams of 2-3 people and each team has a different client.

Along with two other SAP colleagues, Justin Molloy (USA) and Laura Hankalin (Finland), I am helping the Convention and Visitor Bureau in its mission to develop the tourism sector of Porto Alegre and the surrounding metropolitan area through prospection, creation and support of events. Our project objective is to create a marketing plan to drive sustainable growth of events and tourism – through improved branding, promoting attractions, communication, and a single digital experience to help visitors discover Porto Alegre.

Porto Alegre is the capital of Rio Grande de Sul, the southernmost state in Brazil. It is one of the most culturally rich states:

  • it has a strong Gaúcho tradition – an equivalent of the North American "cowboys". Gauchos are very proud of their identity.
  • its culture was greatly influenced by settlers from Germany and Italy who moved here in the 19th century.
  • it is the largest wine producer in Brazil.

The main symbols of the Gaúcho culture are chimarrão, churrasco, and the traditional dance.

  • Chimarrão is a type of mate, a traditional South American tea made from the Yerba mate plant.

  • Churrasco is a meat barbecue made on sword-like skewers grilled over burning charcoal. Due to affordable high quality meat, locals do it very regularly and almost every house is built with a churrasco grill like the one shown below.


Porto Alegre is a 2014 FIFA World Cup host city with a population of 1.5 million people.

The city has its unique character:

  • one of the safest and cleanest cities in the countries
  • over 50 museums, many of which are free
  • a diverse nightlife
  • two great soccer teams - Grêmio and Internacional. The rivalry is very heated and many fans get tattoos of team symbols.
  • the greenest city in the country with more that 1.5 million trees on its streets (excluding parks!) This is about one tree per resident.


It also has the most beautiful street of the world:

We will be working here for another two weeks and will be giving the final presentation on April 25 at SAP Labs in the nearby city of São Leopoldo.

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