Peter Hesse from the www.solidarity.org (Peter Hesse Foundation) brought an outside perspective in a passionate key note speech on his development work. The foundation, with its guiding principle of solidarity in partnership for one world in diversity, was established in 1983 to sustain small self-help projects for deprived people in Haiti.
36 Montessori preschools were established with the aid of the Peter Hesse Foundation. The political turmoil in the country and the earthquake in 2010 however disrupted a lot of its work. Konsul Dipl-Kfm Hesse described the building of the new, post earthquake Montessori Centre Haiti, where teachers are trained, as an excellent example of development cooperation by local and international partners. .
“There are two basic truths that I have broken everything down to: nothing can’t be developed. Everything develops naturally from the bottom up. But the staircase must be cleaned from the top to the bottom,“ Konsul Dipl-Kfm Hesse told his audience. That means politicians must pave the way from the top for development to take place from the bottom.
Hartwig Fischer, Member of the German Parliament and President of the German Africa Foundation, gave his views in a short telephonic interview. He said it is important for children to have opportunities in a better world where the gap between rich and poor becomes smaller. These goals can however not be achieved by public funds alone. Therefore partners like SOS Children’s Villages are needed.
“I think there is hardly another organisation so efficient and effective. If I think of Somalia you are the only organisation that stayed and continue to help children where all the others have walked out,“ , Fischer added.
The Hermann Gmeiner Day aims to stimulate an exchange of ideas and opinions about current topics of relevance to SOS Children’s Villages and society. The event was attended by approximately 70 people, including President Siddhartha Kaul and Honorary President Helmut Kutin.
Although the term Development Cooperation might not have been used in Herman Gmeiner’s lifetime, one will find many interesting statements relating to the subject in reading material on his work, said Christian Honold, Manager of the Herman Gmeiner Academy.