Felicitas Köbele und Gerhard Köbele, Gründer des Brücke zum Leben e.V., Internationales HilfswerkSo fing alles an

It all began in January 2008 while Gerhard Koebele was on a business trip in the east African countries of Uganda and Burundi. His wife, Felicitas was traveling with him and were very moved be the poverty, destruction and the diversity of problems the areas visited are confronted with.

After returning back to their home in southern Germany, they both began their work concentrating their efforts on the children, especially orphans. Children are the key for the future and without help from others, they have little chance. That is also the reason for beginning with schooling and education. Though education, the children will be able to attain a career and have a chance at a positive future. A citizens of Europe and western society, we have a life filled with wealth and are able attend school. We want these orphans and underprivileged children to have the same chances.

The children caught their attention first. Many have lost their parents due to illness and war, Genocide (conflicts between the Hutu’s and Tuttis). The children suffer under malnutrition, lack of medical care, clothing etc.

Our Motivation

The children in Uganda and Burundi must pay for the state run schools, making it a privilege, There is not enough money for the uniform, books, tests and even school supplies. This where our work begins.

Our schools are religiously based, boarding schools and we support most often orphans and underprivileged children. We build our own schools “green school” meaning they are made of mud bricks with grass roofs. Meanwhile is is mandatory to built schools with solid walls and proper roofs and we are now in the process of renovating the buildings so that our schools can be officially meet regulations and can then become accredited by the government of Uganda.

What has evolved

  • over 350 children receive school sponsorships from us and the number continues to grow
  • our children and teachers of the Maranatha School in Uganda plant vegetable gardens on school grounds.The project provide students with practical agricultural knowledge as well as providing food and nutritionfor the children and teachers living on school grounds.
  • 2012, a fresh water well was dug (approx.. 100 m deep) to provide the Maranatha School (Uganda) with fresh water
  • 2012 we traveled with a master carpenter to Africa. He was able to show the Africans how to build wooden school desks with attached benches.* This is another example of our self-help assistance programs
  • Dormitories have been built for the girls and boys of the Maranatha School
  • A laboratory has been built for the Salem Senior – School and we have assisted to begin creating a library
  • The 2 yr. Sewing Vocational School program in Rugombo, Burandi have successfully been completedThe second set of classes have started 2012
  • Construction of the school in Rugombo, Burundi has begun,Two buildings with 3 classrooms are complete but the roof remains unfinished
  • Mattresses for all children with a metal box for their belongings are provided by our organization.We continue to request help like donations for items such as beds, desk, uniforms and other daily life kind of article.
  • We have been able to provide several bicycles and sewing machines so that people can create an income for their families
  • Money for school building and upkeep has been donated to keep the schools Rushango and Apac, Uganda going. Donations for this are always needed.

Our Strengths

We have schools and projects in three East African counties, Burundi, Ruanda and Uganda. We assist and reach out to orphans and underprivileged children living in these countries. Sponsorships and projects of all sizes provide a school education and/or vocational school, room and board, medical care and even loans for small business. Our efforts work and reach each individual directly. One advantage our organisation has is that we are small. We are volunteers and almost every dollar given, reaches Africa, the schools we build and projects for the children. School sponsorships reach each child entirely and provide one full year of school for the child.

Small business loans

Our thoughts behind this project is to provide the Africans with a regular income and in turn stabilize the business growth of the ares we support. Local banks in the areas do not generally provide loans for their own people. The mafia and other options for money is a very dangerous option for the people as well.

We have given many loans and do not generally give a second loan without the first being repaid, and it has functioned well.

Our Goals

Our belief is to break the poverty cycle through education and self-help. We strive to give children and young adults a positive perspective and open up opportunities they would not normally have without education or other assistance.

We have limited resources and a tight budget, but the results are the real difference. The bottom line is based on the health and happiness of children, orphaned children or children with one parent for the most part. Every dollar spent here in the office means one less dollar for the children, doing more with less becomes much easier!