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Interview with Robin Bieling from Sesmaroglo Kids eV

We have Robin Bieling, the initiator of the Sesmaroglo Kids eV. asked for a little interview for our blog. His association is committed to improving the living conditions of children around the world. We have already been able to support the project with a donation.

We gave Robin five questions as a guide - the result is a great contribution about the development, work and future of Sesmaroglo Kids eV, Have fun while reading!

How did your club / idea come about?

In 2012, after graduating from high school, I went to Africa for the first time. I traveled to Ghana to volunteer on various projects with (street) children. Most of that time I worked in an organization for street children in the heart of Accra. Here we planned and organized leisure activities for the street children almost every two weeks, during which they could forget their worries for a brief moment. We also offered courses in reading, writing and arithmetic. Every day we went to a nearby school, whose classrooms we could use after school. I will never forget the colorful and chaotic hustle and bustle in the classrooms. Just as little as the kids' gratitude for that little bit of attention and a change from their often hard, busy everyday life.

I spent the other half of my time in Accra in a small preschool. There were a total of around 40 children between the ages of one and five, who of course all had to be looked after and taught very differently. Together with the headmistress, we restructured a lot on site and developed new ideas on how to raise spirited African kids without violence. It was great to see successes and to see how not only the teachers gratefully accepted the tips, but also how all the children participated. It was a very intense time, which made it clear to me that you can achieve a lot for the children with a strong will, love and even a small amount of effort. You don't have to wait for miracles, you can contribute to making the world a little better. You just need to start! 🙂 

Back in Germany I found it difficult to finish with all these experiences. Why not do something good for the children from home too? So I started collecting donations from friends and family. After a short time, so much had come together that I was able to equip another classroom with new tables and chairs for the preschool, build a hospital room and have new play equipment built. Strengthened by these successes, I joined forces with the people I was able to get enthusiastic about and worked together on the project “founding an association”. The Sesmaroglo Kids eV association grew out of this, and its name is made up of our motto and vision: "SEnd a SMile AROund the GLObe".

What has happened so far, what went well, what went bad?

A lot has happened since we officially registered the club in 2014. In the beginning we were only seven members, now there are more than 60 people. At the beginning we collected donations in a small group with the aim of building a new building for the preschool that I was working on. It turned out, however, that we could not find a sponsoring organization so easily on site in Ghana, which is why we had to say goodbye to this project for the time being. However, this small setback only strengthened us and ensured that we had to rearrange ourselves and our goals. In order to be able to conduct development cooperation efficiently and professionally from Germany, one needs a partner network distributed around the world in order to be able to use common competencies and to be able to support one another. Through intensive research and numerous discussions, we then found a new partner for a joint project with a Ghanaian NGO that also works from Germany.

Together we developed a concept for a school in combination with an orphanage for street children. This project was named "Farm of Hope" and has developed into our current main project over the past three years. After a long planning phase, the search for a suitable plot of land and many discussions, we were able to break the first sod for the construction in 2016. In order to be able to cope better with this joint project, we have created our own sub-areas within the partner network. As Sesmaroglo Kids eV we are responsible for the construction of the orphanage. In the last two years we have already been able to build the complete foundation of the approximately 300 square meter building as well as the first six bedrooms and sanitary facilities through donations. Since we only carry out the construction with local craftsmen, we always set ourselves small construction phases that we set a few months in advance. For these, it is then precisely defined what is to be achieved and the costs involved. This makes it easier for us to control and understand the construction phases even from a distance.

Our local partner also keeps an eye on the construction progress on site. At the latest in such a project, African cosiness meets German order and you have to learn to deal with it. But thanks to the joint work with our partner network, we have been able to advance the project well in recent years and look positively into the future!

Children in the classroom

How should it go on?

Currently our priority is to finish the construction of the residential building. To this end, about 20.000 € are still missing, which we are trying to collect through donations, membership fees and participation in events. The nice thing about the work of the association is that there are so many people who get involved and that always creates new ideas. There are many campaigns that we set up here in Germany to draw attention to ourselves, our work and, above all, our projects. On the one hand, this means a lot of work, but on the other hand, we are also able to encourage more people to stand up for others every year.

Together with our partners, we are developing further concepts and ideas on how we can expand the “Farm of Hope” project. Plans and calculations are currently being drawn up for an infirmary, workshops and a volunteer house. At the same time, we are in the process of completing our residential building in such a way that it meets the requirements of the local authorities and that, after an examination, we receive the certificate for a recognized orphanage. In addition, more work is being done on the implementation and commissioning of the residential building. Here we have a strong local partner in Ghana who is committed to the well-being of street children. Together we will develop a way to select street children and to enable access to the residential building with the adjacent school. All of this has to be carefully considered, planned and coordinated with the local authorities.

What does a better world look like for you?

For me, a better world would be if everyone cared a little more about the well-being of their fellow human beings. We all know that there are problems all over the world and that help is needed worldwide. You don't have to fly to the other end of the world to see that. But you shouldn't turn a blind eye to the problems or think that there is nothing you can do about them anyway. Each of us can do something if we just want to. It doesn't always have to be about money. The very fact of giving other people time, helping them, being there for them and listening can often do more than we can imagine.

I just think it's important that everyone (!) Learns for themselves that everyone can manage to make the world a little bit better. If we all work on it together, then we can achieve great things.

"Be the change you want to see in the world" & "Send a smile around the globe!" 

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