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The Opening of the Resource Centre of the German School Nairobi

Date 18/03/2010

On the 11th of March 2010, the Headmaster of the school, Mr. Siegfried Schmerbeck opened the Resource Centre of the German School Nairobi. This centre now becomes one of the 14 such centre worldwide. Its role is to promote the German language and culture, in conjunction with colleagues from DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service) and the Goethe Institut. The Headmaster had the honour of inviting the German Ambassador, Margit Hellwig-Boette, and the East African Coordinator of CARE International Auma Obama, who holds a doctorate in German, as Guest Speakers.

Two years worth of work, enormous support from the German Foreign Office, and exceptional commitment from Karin Häggmark and Franz Bauer, the two teachers currently responsible for the Resource Centre were required to create this centre, in which, “people can meet, learn and be creative”. Thus, according to the German Ambassador, “the German language could be one’s personal gateway to the European Culture.”
Two state of the art computer rooms (for internet research and self-study), and a library are now available for Kenyan students and the teachers in the 60 schools in Kenya, where German is taught. Our prominent Guest Speaker, Auma Obama learnt German without the help of such a centre! She was awarded a scholarship from DAAD, and studied in Heidelberg and Bayreuth, where she received her PhD. She emphasised the “craziness” that she experienced in Germany, where she was able to organise her studies herself, and which thus allowed her to “grow into an adult”. The Inter-Cultural German Literature Studies allowed her to feel at home in Germany, as the degree lent itself well to seeing the German Culture and Literature from many perspectives, as well as to be interpreted in several ways. Auma Obama gave the audience a short insight into how she managed to get to Germany, and into her life in Germany. She spoke about how she, as a “non-white” had to learn to assert herself in the German society to become a respected individual. Yet she spoke of the other side of Germany, where foreigners become victims. Nonetheless, she is still thankful today, that she experienced in Germany the pain and the joy of the people separated for so long, during the days the Berlin wall was coming down she spoke of experiences as crazy as witnessing artists trying to wrap the German parliament! Through her experiences, she is a lot more than just the sister of the American President: “that he is my brother, that is important, but he is simply doing his job, an official!” She spoke to the audience about her own work, and that of teachers. According to her, it is all about giving back what one has received, to give space to each individual, special child. She thus encouraged the children of East Africa, not only to see their country as something that fascinates tourists, but also to recognize its own strengths. Teachers, she said, can thus strengthen a child.
The official part of the ceremony ended with the unveiling of the PASCH (Partner Schools Initiative) Plaque by the Headmaster Siegfried Schmerbeck, the German Ambassador Margit Hellwig-Boette and the Guest of Honour, Auma Obama.
(Gertraud Fogt)

More pictures see link "Resource Centre".

Obama, Hellwig-Boette, Schmerbeck und Pasch-Plakette

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