Archive for April, 2009

Our spendings so far

Thanks again to all of you who donated for Benin. We started our trip with 1120 Euro in our pockets. At the airport in Frankfurt and in Benin another 350 Euros were added. Thanks to Willms Buhse and Bernhard Thome!

Here is a summary of what we did with the money so far.

270 000 CHF 15 bags of fertilizer plus transportation, ADRIA
40 000 CHF sonafa.de
35 000 CHF SOS children village
320 000 CHF SEAM
200 000 CHF Internet ADRIA
40 000 CHF money orders
905 000 CHF (ca. 1400 Euro)

With the rest WE will support micro financing.

On top of that WE already received another 155 Euro at the Educamp and from the Neuron Network, WE’ve rounded up to 200 and send it to Salifou to buy exercise books and school material for Massi.


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Adrien C. Houandjinou lost his father when he was five years old. He was lucky because there were people who helped him in these days. Today he is in a position to give something back.

Adrien is passionate about soccer. Not only that he loves the game, but much more because he sees a huge opportunity in sports to get the kids off the street. That’s why he founded SEAM promotion. His vision is to support kids in a professional way to manage their daily lives, meaning going to school, having something to eat, playing soccer … They are allowed to stay and play at SEAM – if they go to school.

He does this with personal engagement, with partners in- and outside Benin. For example he is partnering with schools and universities in Benin. Right next to the SEAM is a school and a technical university. When the kids return from school around 2 pm they have lunch, break, they are doing their homework and every evening at 5.30 soccer training starts on a playground built by the kids themselves …

Here are some impressions …

Adrien and Tim in front of the SEAM entrance


outdoor kitchen

team members with Adrien and his wife

Right now, Adrian is supporting 146 children.
They don’t live as comfortable as the kids in the SOS childrens village.
They for sure have less money than SOS …
But they do have their dream.
They are not alone. Theu live within their culture.
They have a place to sleep, they go to school and they have something to eat.
They are open !

And they are successful!
Some of the kids made it to the Benin national soccer team!

WE supported SEAM with 300 000 CHF (ca. 450 Euro) in cash.
Tim is trying to get sport clothes for them …

In addition to that here is what they are looking for:

– a bus for 30 people
– football shoes
– balls
– scoccer shirts and pants
– exchange programs with German soccer teams (online/offline)
– experienced trainers who come for while and teach them
– a website/blog
– computers

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It’s been 10 days ago since we came back from Benin – and still today every detail and every face is so clear in front of me – Benin really caught me and went straight to my heart:-)

Last night while I was showing a friend all our photos and videos (will be on the website soon) I made the decision that from now on I will donate 3% of my turnover (net) for our project.

This money – besides my other efforts for Benin – will help a little to continue our projects we’ve just started and hopefully more friends and people will join us to help. And I want to point out that it is much more than a family kind of thing. The projects aren’t family related. They were more or less choosen by coincidence. All of them have the capacity to grow and to connect. That is what we are working on. I am deeply convinced that people like you and me can have a significant impact if WE use networks and follow the principle: help people to help themselves.

It took me almost 50 years to get there:-) – I am so happy I am finally doing it!

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… in english and french! Thanks!

It is Alexander’s presentation @ educamp, where WEbenin raised another 105 EURO to help Benin!
Thanks to all!

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… right here @ Tanagou, Benin. After 2 days of 50 degree Celsius in the savannah …


Ici c’est le paradis: @Tanagou, Benin. Après deux jours sous 50 degrés dans la savanne…

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1.5 miles south of town, right next to the main road, surrounded by beautiful trimmed plants. We arrived by motorbike-taxi. At the gate two men were sitting in the shade. Guards. We had to ask for permission to entry – even though – as one of the managers told us later – SOS supposed to be an open place!


1.5 miles au sud de la ville, à droite de la route principale, entouré par des plantes magnifiquement coupées. Nous sommes arrivés par un cyclo-taxi. A la porte deux hommes étaient assis à l’ombre. Des gardes. Nous dûmes demander la permission d’entrer – même si, comme un manager nous a dit par la suite – SOS est considéré comme un endroit ouvert.

As we finally got through we were told by the manager in chief that we are not allowed to videotape the interview. Why? No official international permission from SOS PR department. Let’s embrace openess!
During our conversation we learnt a lot about the work of SOS in Benin. Everything follows precise rules, every process is well ahead planned and even minor changes aren’t welcome.

Strange scope. Bizarre environment. It seemed unrealistic to see this beautiful set up, which doesn’t at all correspondent with its environment. Clean paths, sanitary arrangements, one “mom” for 10 kids, healthcare, pharmacie, food, just about everything- it felt like a different world. Unreal Benin. Even better than most European childcare places I have seen

Don’t get us wrong.
It´s most likely paradise for these 100 children. They will be educated, healthy and ready for the future. No doubt about it!
But will they still be Beninois? Isn’t there a huge cultural clash? Where will their culture go? Will they still go along with the rest of their families?

And there is another point we need to take into account. The costs!
I have no idea about the budget. But I guess in comparison to the football kids at SEAM (blog post will follow soon), it is more than fifty times of the costs.
Why not embrace the idea: Help people to help themselves!
I am sure more people can be helped this way and I do believe the help is even more sustainable!
Be open, not closed.
Connect, don’t separate!
Let different cultures flourish!

Our goal at SOS is to connect them with sonafa. de and ADRIA.
SOS owns computers:, so do the other two.
Let’s see if the official statement of SOS will allow us to connect the kids in the different areas …

Can’t wait to get the answer!

FRENCH VERSION   (jeanpol)

Lorsque finalement nous entrâmes, le manager en chef nous a dit que nous n’étions pas autorisés à filmer l’interview. Pourquoi? Pas d’autorisation internationale officielle du département des relations publiques de SOS.  Et voilà pour l’ouverture!
Au cours de notre conversation nous avons appris beaucoup de choses sur le travail de SOS au Bénin. Chaque processus suit des règles précises, chaque pas est planifié d’avance et même de tout petits changements ne sont pas souhaités.

Etrange scène, étrange environnement. Il semblait surréel de voir ce beau domaine qui ne correspondait pas du tout à l’environnement. Des allées très propres, des sanitaires, une “maman” pour 10 enfants, une infirmerie, une pharmacie, de la nourriture, tout ce qu’on voulait- cela semblait être un autre monde. Un Benin surréel. Même mieux que la plupart des foyer pour enfants que j’ai vu dans ma vie.

Qu’on ne se trompe pas sur mon discours.
Ceci est presque un paradis pour ces 100 enfants. Ils seront formés, soignés et préparés pour l’avenir. N’en doutons pas!
Mais est-ce que se seront encore des Beninois? N’y aura-t-il pas une rupture culturelle radicale?  Que deviendra cette culture? Continueront-ils à être liés au reste de leurs familles?

Et il faut prendre en compte un autre aspect. Les coûts!
Je n’ai aucune idée du budget dont ils disposent. Mais je suppose qu’en comparaison des jeunes fottballeurs de SEAM (nous en parlerons plus tard),  les coûts sont au moins 50 fois supérieurs.
Pourquoi ne pas adhérer au concept: aider les gens à s’entraider et à s’en sortir eux-mêmes!
Je suis persuadé que de cette façon on peut aider plus de gens à s’en sortir tout seuls et je crois que cette aide est plus durable!
Ouvrez-vous aux autres, ne restez pas refermés sur vous-mêmes.
Connectez-vous, ne restez pas isolés!
Faites fructifier les différentes cultures!

Notre but avec SOS est de les connecter avec sonafa. de et ADRIA.
SOS dispose d’ordinateurs et les deux autres associations aussi.
Attendons de voir si la décision officielle de SOS nous permettra de contacter les enfants des différents sites …

Je suis très pressé de recevoir la réponse!

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For these books, shipped from France to Benin, we will try to fundraise 5000 Euro to build a library for the kids in Aledjo. Right nor they have no place to read … All the books are waiting for a shelf!


Pour ces livres importés de France au Bénin nous voulons rassembler 5000 Euros pour construire une bibliothèque pour les enfants d’Aledjo. Actuellement ils n’ont aucun endroit pour lire… Tous les livres attendent des rayons.


1 ton of cement costs about 1.000.000 CHF (660 CHF=1 Euro).
They need about 10-15 tons …


1 tonne de ciment coûte environ 1.000.000 CHF (660 = 1 Euro). Ils ont besoin de 10 à 15 tonnes.

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