• Heike Ellwanger

Pressebericht "Knysna-Plett Herald"

The spirit of Knysna reached German charity

On Thursday, 24 January 2014, a little pre-primary school in Concordia named “Magdelientjie St Patrick” founded by Magdalena Moos officially opened a new classroom with the presence of the Mayor of Knysna: Georlene Wolmarans, the sponsor: HERMA GmbH from Germany represented by Sylvia Wirth, the founder of a charity organization: Care&Share&Smile e.V. represented by Heike Ellwanger, the principal Magdalena Moos and the local media.

For the past 3 years, Heike has been visiting Knysna with an uplifting spirit hard to ignore, touching young hearts all over the community of Knysna. Her heart was softened when she realized the massive need for education of disadvantaged children in Concordia. She involved Care&Share&Smile, a non-profit-organisation, founded in Germany. Heike helps this remarkably self-motivated community whenever it is stretched to its limits and whenever it faces financial, organizational or legal issues. Her direct and personal dialog with the inhabitants inspires them to devise new projects. She gives these people hope for the future by just caring about them.

Magdalena started this charity school out of the garage of her father in 1996 and built up a care centre for children who have no food and means of education. These children are mostly aids orphans or just the victims of abusive parents with drug and alcohol abuse problems. As founder and principle of the pre-school kindergarten, street worker of the “Unsung Angels” and board member of the local South African police, Magdalena “Maggi” Moos is a vital team member. With her help, Heike could focus on educational projects for socially disadvantaged youngsters, street children and orphans in Concordia, a township in Knysna. Regular meals and one-on-one support supplement this project. Despite having a vast local network and personal connections, Maggi was unable to further expand and foster her project without any financial support. Together with HERMA and Care&Share&smile, they were able to join forces and to help this pre-primary school to become a registered entity with the Department of Education as a Grade R school. Maggi has the trust of all community members and are always up to date with any problems and needs arising out of the community. She is the centre point for all communications and also the pillar of support.

With Heike taking the spirit of Africa to Germany, she managed to involve and secure donations from HERMA based in Germany, one of the leading specialists in self-adhesive technologies, established in 1906, represented by Sylvia, to contribute to the upliftment of this remarkable community. With generous donation the hearts of many children were touched as the school can now accommodate almost 100 children. Applying donations from HERMA and management from Care&Share&Smile, they were able to build a new classroom in late 2013 which alleviated much tension as it is always very difficult to turn away a child in need of help. For most of these children going to school now provides the safest environment for them that day. The kindergarten project offers full time day care and education. There are currently 93 children in the school and unfortunately running at full capacity, leaving no more space for any new children.

Without the help from Maggi, HERMA and Care&Share&Smile, this would not have been possible to achieve. Maggi, Sylvia and Heike contributed in ways money cannot buy and will be remembered for years to come by many little children and orphans because they made a difference in a little township, called Concordia. The handover and opening of the new classroom on Thursday was met with tears of joy and smiles as this day marks a change in many lives.

We so often don’t realise how blessed we are with what we might have, but we seldom put ourselves in the shoes of these little children, who if not for the help of these remarkable people, would have no future to look forward to. May the words of Nelson Mandela inspire us all to try and dream of a better future. Madiba said: “Education is the most powerful weapon, which you can use to change the world”.

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