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Friday December 22, 2017

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© Kasisi Children's Home


A Portrait of.... features

The story of Anni …,


and her Aschaffenburg Girls’ School,
her pupils, her colleagues, her friends, and her family

Once upon a time – more than 10 years ago – there was a Mrs Anni Kropf, a German red-haired and lively woman, who was on sabbatical from her teaching job. Her husband was working in Zambia and she had accompanied him to this strange land. During her time in Zambia she came into contact with Kasisi Children’s Home (then called ‘orphanage’). She fell in love with the place and the children, and decided to do something for them.

When she returned to Germany, to the town of Aschaffenburg in southern Germany, she organized all her colleagues, pupils, friends, and family, to send money to the orphanage. And ever since that time they have been doing just that. They hold bake-sales and concerts, Christmas plays and fun-runs, salaula auctions and fund-raiser church services. Even PTA meetings are not safe from Anni’s Kasisi-collection plate.

One of Anni’s colleagues, Mrs Kolkmann the art teacher, had an especially bright idea: to combine art lessons with fund raising. And so, from about 2002 onwards, every year Mrs Kolkmann’s art pupils design cards that then get printed and sold. Many many millions of Kwacha have come together from these sales alone.

Another of Anni’s colleagues, Mr Gottschalk, one year came visiting us at Kasisi. He was a teacher at a different school, in a town called Graefenberg, and he too became a friend of our Home and started organizing his pupils, friends and family. Sadly he passed away seven years ago, but every year on his death-day his parents continue his good work and send a memorial donation.

More and more teachers became interested in fund-raising for Kasisi. The early pioneers, inspired by Anni - Mrs Kanja and Mrs Blatt, Mr Matheis and Mrs Plaice, Mrs Trunk-Kupsch and Mr Bubenzer – had led by glowing example, some of them beyond their school-days and into their retirement. In the last few years many more teachers have become involved, inspiring their pupils to donate some of their pocket money to support individual Kasisi children. And the idea of sponsorships took hold, of a class sponsoring a specific orphan. By now, July 2008, nine classes are donating regularly. All ‘Aktionen’ and activities enjoy the active support of Headmaster Mr Koemm.

But it is not only the schools that have been ‘organised’ by Anni. Her friends and family are donating too, either by sponsoring an individual child or by sending regular donations. There are the families Geissler-Braun, Bauer, Fuchs, Nitt and Schroeder, to mention only a few. And then there are many more occasional donors, friends or workmates of Anni and her husband Guenter’s, who donate their birthday money or Christmas gifts.

In this manner an enormous amount of money has come together over the years – I think it may be about half a million Euro by now – and we have been able to buy anything from sweeties to fridges, balloons to furniture, exercise books to washing machines. I don’t know what we would do without Anni and her school. We can’t thank everyone enough and know that only the Good Lord will reward them all suitably.

Next month, in August, Anni will come on a visit. I think she will be very surprised at the many changes she’ll find after her years and years of absence.
Of course, the partnership between Aschaffenburg and Kasisi is not one-sided. Teachers and pupils, their families and friends, learn about Zambia, a country far removed from their day-to-day concerns. Zambian topics are being incorporated into Aschaffenburg school’s curriculum, into their geography, home craft, mathematics, history, and art lessons … And I don’t know what else; the possibilities are limitless.

Last year Anni and her school were honoured by the President of Germany in recognition of their efforts for a country and an institution in need. She and a pupil, as representatives of their community, had been invited to Berlin, the capital of Germany, for a special celebration at Germany’s State House. Many people were there, speeches were held, and tea was served, and everyone heard about far-away Kasisi, the children’s home in a country called Zambia.


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