35 Years of World Vision in Germany

The German branch of World Vision was founded on 15th November, 1979 in Oberursel by Dr. Manfred Kohl.  35 years later the organisation – now based in Friedrichsdorf – opened their doors to celebrate.

For the 35th anniversary they had invited long-serving patrons and a number from the local area, many of whom accepted the invitation to bring along their own children.

Miriam Schuller (left) and Gabriele Rohde (right) with guests roll-playing a micro-credit meeting under the village tree

Miriam Schuller (left) and Gabriele Rohde (right) with guests roll-playing a micro-credit meeting under the village tree

They were welcomed by the event’s host Oliver Müller, who reminded everyone that the organisation’s work would not be possible without the the donors, as well as by the chairman of the executive committee Wilfried Bohlen.  They were followed by the chairman of the board Christoph Waffenschmidt and his deputy Christoph Hilligen, who talked about the work that had taken place during the past 35 years.

After this it was time for the party to really begin and the organisers had come up with a mixture of entertainment and information.

The guests could find out how microcredits work and how they help people in Third World countries.  To do this, a roll-playing game was used with the guests taking on the different roles.

It was also possible to find out more about the children that the guests sponsor and more general information about how the work in developing countries and humanitarian aid are organised.  If you ever wanted to know what was in an aircraft that flies out to a crisis area, this was the chance with one of the boxes of emergency aid on show.  World Vision has their own store near Frankfurt Airport to allow them to react quickly and get this on board a plane to where it is needed.

Gabriela Sortino showed the sponsors current information about their children

Gabriela Sortino showed the sponsors current information about their children

On a very current topic, Steffen Horstmeier, the head of the World Vision office in Jordan had flown to Germany with up-to-date information on the situation in Syria and talked to the guests about the details that the media seldom report on.  He also had numbers to report, such as how many refugees were now in which countries, and explained how World Vision not only helps these but also the residents of those countries.

Using Lebanon as an example, he explained that 1.2 million refugees from Syria were now in a country that only had 4.5 million inhabitants, which meant that the infrastructure was struggling to copy.  It is as if 6,500 refugees suddenly arrived in a town the size of Friedrichsdorf.

The music for the afternoon was provided by musician and World Vision ambassador Arne Kopfermann.  He lyrics and meant to get people thinking and not only did he sing, but he also talked about his personal experience visiting a project in Ethiopia.  He also touched on the personal loss of one of his children, and explained that because of this in particular it had been important for him to play at the event.  “Especially now”, he commented, because he knew “what a difference World Vision can make for children”.

Brigitte) und Alex Danquah (right and centre) talking about their experiences in Ghana

Brigitte) und Alex Danquah (right and centre) talking about their experiences in Ghana

One of the highlights of the afternoon was when Alex and Brigitte Danquah, who sponsored their first child in 1981, took to the stage.  As Alex come from Ghana, that is where the children live that they have sponsored.  On once occasion when they were visiting his family there, they decided to pay their child a visit – but had not called in advance to warn the project contacts that they were coming.  It was an eventful visit.

World Vision in Germany has grown in those 35 years and now 316 projects in 48 countries are now managed from the new building in Friedrichsdorf.  170.000 children are currently being sponsored.

And talking of children, the invitation explicitly said that children would be welcome and on the top floor of the building they had not only arranged for the children to be looked after, they had laid on all sorts of things for the children to do.  They could make things, go on a tour around a large map of Africa, or just play table football.

At the end of the afternoon each child was given a present to take home: a cuddly toy kangaroo with a zipped-up pouch.  It was explained that the kangaroo protects their young in the pouch, just as World Vision protects the children interests of the children that they look after, regardless of which country they live in.

This article appeared in German in the Friedrichsdorfer Woche on Thursday, 11th December, 2014.


Content not available.
Please allow cookies by clicking Accept on the banner
About Graham

Graham Tappenden is a British ex-pat who first came to Germany as a placement student in 1993, returning in 1995 to live there permanently. He has been writing for AllThingsGerman.net since 2006. When not writing blog posts or freelancing for the Oberurseler Woche and other publications he works as a self-employed IT consultant solving computer problems and designing websites. In 2016 he gained German citizenship.

Speak Your Mind


Please click on ACCEPT to give us permission to set cookies [more information]

This website uses cookies to give you the best browsing experience possible. Cookies are small text files that are stored by the web browser on your computer. Most of the cookies that we use are so-called “Session cookies”. These are automatically deleted after your visit. The cookies do not damage your computer system or contain viruses. Please read our privacy information page for more details or to revoke permission.