Project Why's relationship with Germany began way back in 2007 when Hans Emde, a rather forbidding person with a heart of gold, visited Project Why and decided to set up Project Why Deutschland e v in Köln. From that moment the doors flew open and Project Why's discovery of Germany began.
Volunteers and visitors brought their own special German touch, a far cry from the image many carry of Germans, especially in India.
We were treated to big German lads like Lukas and Enrico who most surprisingly chose to work with the tiniest of kids and who even more surprisingly wept like babies when it was time to leave. Needless to say, Lukas came back many times and Enrico sent his little brother Dario this spring.
Then we had the ladies who walked into our hearts: Julia, Claudia, Sabine, Myla, Carla and many others. Each displayed incredible warmth and generosity and craftedbonds lasting a life time. Needless to say ALL have become staunch supporters and donors.
Project Why Deutschland walked that extra mile by making the exchange mutual when they invited Rani and Shamika to Koln in February 2009. Germany is the first country that Rani has visited, making the leap from a tiny India slum to a buzzing German city, creating memories she will carry for a life time.
That is not all. The Project Why Deutschland helped us in many more ways. They were the ones who gave to three young hearing impaired girls state-of-the-art hearing aids, allowing them to hear their first sound.
One of the qualities Germans have in abundance is meticulous organisation, a non-existent one in India! We are grateful for all those who have shared this quality with us. Eva taught English to the Okhla kids and staff, braving all odds, Ayse brought a healing touch to the special kids and Arthur is at present painfully pouring over statistics and figures to help us document our work in a professional manner. The fact that the temperature is a scorching 45 C is proof of the extent of commitment Germans have!
Today, at a time when Project Why is in need of a long due makeover, Carla our elected mentor, is holding our hand and gently leading us into the world of reports, organigrams, budgets, projections and more; we would be lost without her. What is truly touching is that she is ever present and always smiling.
We are grateful to Hans to have opened up a new world to us. We are grateful to Julia and Claudia who are always there for us and jump on a plane to see us when needed. We were particularly touched when Claudia made a trip to Project Why, leaving her toddler behind. That is what love is all about.