Archive for August, 2009

August 9, 2009 , our first fundraising party for Benin. Here are a few impressions, Tim my son is speaking …. (in German).

It was a lo of fun!
And thanks again to Humble Lion Band who really did a great job that night!


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Ganvie again!

On our way to Massi (the new ADRIA branch) we stopped by to show Anne and Nadja the landing place of Ganvie – the old crannog village, the most visited tourist place in Benin. We’ve been there in April. By coincidence we ran into Laurent, the guy who paddled us last time.

Laurent, a student of Cotonou university who gives guided tours to Ganvie

Market women from Ganvie on the “mainland”

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One of our projects in Benin is SEAM – Adrien’s soccer school for street kids. We gave them an outfit for an entire team (shoes, pants, shirts, socks and a couple of footballs) – provided by Peter Martin, a friend of ours in Heidelberg, and we are working on finding a team bus for them!

I interviewed Adrien alongside a football tournament at Grand Popo and his most ambitious wish is finding a Coach from Germany for the young players … SEAM has diverse opportunities for the Coach, it is even supported by the Benin government! So if you want to go for Benin a little while or if you know somebody who would like to go …. please let us know!

They are waiting for you !!!

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Mission accomplished

The main reason I went to Benin this time was the fact, that 2 young German girls arrived in Cotonou. After having unexpected difficulties at the border Togo – Benin (I came in from Ghana), I just made it in time to pick them up at the airport. Thanks to our all time favorite Salifou who was waiting with the car when I arrived at the hotel.

Anne and Nadja, both from Heidelberg, are 19 years old and their plan is to do social work in Benin. They start out in Aledjo with ADRIA. Before we drove up to Aledjo we spent 2 days in Cotonou where they’ve met Tim’s family and other friends. It was a very warm welcome.

Same thing in Aledjo. Mme. Abiba and ADRIA prepared a house for them – 3 rooms, kitchen, veranda and – what is rare in Aledjo – electricity! All of us were overwhelmed by the kindness and friendliness of the people. It was a real open hearted welcome – very emotional, very touching! Anne and Nadja are in very good hands there! Thank you Mme. Abiba, thank you ADRIA!

Anne and Nadja promised they will update us once in a while on what they are doing … we have to be patient though, because there is no Internet in Aledjo … they have to go 35 km to the next village on unpaved roads … and right now it is rainy season:-)

Here are the very first photographs from them:

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Nadja (left) and Anne in their new home.

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Nadja at the market in Aledjo

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Anne and Nick, the eldest son of Mme. Abiba, on their way to the market

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Me, Salifou and Anne at the Yam festival in Aledjo

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Check for ONG ADRIA

Today I made the bank transaction for ONG ADRIA:

600.000 CHF (=1100 Euro)

Thank you to all those who are supporting our activities in Benin!
With this money ADRIA will provide more people with micro loans.
Already ADRIA helped more than 1000 people – the interest per loan is 12% p.a.
More than 98% of the loans will be paid back … That is the result of 14 years work!
Better than any European bank!

Mme. Abiba, director of ADRIA will give us a report how the donation was used …

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Last April when we were for our first time in Benin, people in Massi asked us, if we could help them – besides supporting their primary school – with micro loans. Our plan was to connect them with ADRIA in Aledjo. ADRIA was founded in 1995 and they have been – without any help from government and politics – quiet successful.

Meanwhile Salifou went to Massi to set the ground, followed by Mme. Abiba, Director of ADRIA, who explained to the farmers and the teachers how micro loans are functioning and how it will work out for them. Knowing all this I was very much depressed when we arrived last week in Massi. I’ve never looked in such sad, almost dead eyes than during our meeting there. People, especially women seemed to be hopeless … They hadn’t done anything for our meeting, they just expected help and money. They were too tired for anything …

In endless discussions we explained again and again why they need to do something before achieving the loans. They needed to form groups with same interests, they needed to elect some people for taking over responsibility, they needed to look for somebody who is capable in speaking french to communicate with ADRIA …

Mme. Abiba explained them in a very impressive way that micro loans aren’t presents … they need to get paid back in order to achieve progress. After more than 3 hours we finally had our success story: a group was founded, their interest maize. 7 farmers described their needs, gave us their ideas how they will spend the money – and even more important – how they will pay the money back … This was our breakthrough. With this case all of a sudden all the others understood what to do … and they started to work on it.

In 3-4 weeks Mme. Abiba will go back to Massi, check out the groups and their plans and then the new ADRIA branch will start its work …

… with the money of our donors.

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Mme. La Directrisse is speaking about ADRIA, a non government organization which helps children, supports farmers and gives micro credits. ADRIA started 1995 – now 14 years later – they are ready to expand their activities to other rural and very poor areas in Benin, like Massi. They will open a branch there and give micro loans to farmers … Here is what Mme. Abiba has to say and please help her … The video is in french.

Here is the text in English:

my name is Abiba, I’m the director of the OMG ADRIA (association for rural development to insert autopromotion)
The centre of the OMG is located in the North/West of Benin (closed to the Togo’s border), in the Donga department, in the commune of Assila. The town is called Aledjo.
The OMG ADRIA has been created in 1995. It was created to help women.
The main goal is to improve the conditions of the household, which is run by women.
We organise activities, in order to improve the economic level of women.
Women are the pillar of the family, they are responsible for the education of their children.
In Africa, women are having many children and their education is a big charge for them.
Unfortunately, they leave the countryside and we notice an important rural depopulation.
There is also many traffics of children, who must do some forced work.
In order to reduce that, we want to insert the micro-finance to help women staying in their surroundings, where they’re already working. If they stay where they live, they have the possibility to work more and raise their income, so that they can afford the children’s education.

How much is the micro-finance for a woman ?

She get at least 50 000. We started with 20 000, but today women are forming some well organised groups. Inside those groups is a president, a secretary and a treasurer. Together, they work, use the credit and pay it back. When the credit is expended, then they ask for some more credit.

Do Women pay something to ADRIA ?

Since 10 years, we have been doing micro-finance.
It’s not easy for everybody, but 90% of women get to pay back without problem.

How much is the rate ?

1%, which is 12% a year.
We supervise more than 1000 women brought together into 99 groups.

What does ADRIA need ?

Thanks to micro-finance, women’s income is raising up, but there is still the problem of children’s education. When the school starts, women are having difficulties to pay all the school’s furniture (notebooks, pencils, uniforms…) and pay back the credit at the same time.
Also, we suggest a school-credit for women. This way, they can pay the different purchases or needs for the children when they go to school.
ADRIA proposes a school-credit, which has to be paid back into the next 6 months Since the harvest start 3 or 4 months after the beginning of school, they get enough money to pay back the school-credit. If they sell the harvest little by little, they can easily pay back the school-credit.
When we started 2 years ago, we had 5 300 000.
Last year, we had 13 000 000.
Today, we have lots of members, because people realise that education is fundamental.
We started with 300 members ; today we are more than 800 and we will reach 1000 members .

What can do someone who wants to help ?

They are different things :

First, there is the possibility to support financially the OMG to raise up the school-credit fund.

Second of all, there is the possibility to lend money to the OMG to raise up the school-credit fund with a special agreement of payment for this credit.

There is 8 % interest (after 8 months paying back)
It gives a chance to lots of children, who can not afford a schooling (because they don’t have parents, or not enough money)
With this credit, we can sponsor children who don’t have anybody to pay their education.

What else does ADRIA need ?

We need vehicles. We have some partners, who come regularly to visit the OMG and see all what we are doing. When they arrive in Cotonou, we have difficulties to make them come to our place.

If we want to bring our occupations to fruition, we need to move to different places (villages), which are far away sometimes. For example, Massi is around 400 km far away from us. We need a car to get there.

We also have some partners in our area, but they still can be 100 km far away.
To work properly, we need a car, and right now, we’re missing one.

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