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Make Change Possible e.V.: History/How it started

After completing her training in dance and movement therapy, Monika Handwerker worked for seven years as a volunteer in South Africa and Botswana at an international educational institution for intellectually disabled children. During this time, it became clear to her that there was a need to connect people, separated by language, culture and social status, in mutual understanding. Monika returned to Germany to further her training in curative education and counselling before working in a psychiatric rehabilitation center for teenagers and young adults for six years. Subsequently, she became part of the team that founded Heidelberg International School (H.I.S.) in 2000. While revisiting Africa in 2007, she came across the village of Mayana and was impressed by the open, genuine people she met there. Moved by this experience she made a mental note to “come back with more time”.

At the time H.I.S. established the IB Diploma course, she began to envision a possible connection between CAS student requirements and her love of Africa. Lawrence G, an 11th grade student at H.I.S felt a strong need to effect change in the world and, upon learning of Monika’s connection with Africa approached her. Together they made plans to explore the possibility of establishing an ongoing relationship between the village of Mayana and CAS students at H.I.S. The H.I.S. school administration voiced interest in developing such a sustainable international project. The six-week exploratory project between a student, a teacher, and an African village became the foundation of the organization now known as MCP.

Formally founded in June 2010, MCP conducted the first official CAS trip in July 2010, which involved taking two students to spend three weeks working directly with the people of Mayana.

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Larissa's Internship 2019

Larissa made an internship in Mayana from June 26th to August 28th 2019. It was part of her preparation to study vetenary medicine.

Her tasks were to update and extend the chicken house including

  • sand and food store
  • ladders
  • chicken  nesting boxes
  • holes for the chicken poo to be used as manure
  • water storage and gutter
  • charcoal fridge

Additionally, there are new medication to treat typical diseases of chickens and workshops were done for egg registration, food & water, monthly & weekly cleaning, checking diseases & using medication and handbook & documentation. Everything was made to assure a constant and high egg production, because of higher hygiene and a more comfortable stable for the layers. Networking and information with local companies regarding medication, marketing and growing fodder added to the sustainability of the project. The upgrade from 20 to 40 chickens leads to a harvest of at least 480 eggs per month. Of which 200 are reserved for the independent feeding scheme of the Kindergarten. The Mbamba family is taking care of the chicken house with Martha as the program leader.

Further plans are already in the making for next year.

To make an internship for 2 months in Mayana (or longer) is on the one hand helpful to get a clearer picture of Mayana and Namibia, especially because you face reality. There are huge differences to a project trip with a team. You learn so much more and you really get to know the people of Mayana. However, you also get to know yourself and learn what is important and unimportant in life. if you want to do an internship, have been there before, have a plan, know that helping means work and be ready for the adventure of your life.

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Project Trip 2019

Project Trip 2019 team consisted of Christian, Franka, Johannes, Lena, Tabea, Tom, and the project leaders Katharina and Larissa. The projects were sexual education and English and computer lessons both at the Kayengona Combined School and at the Meho Center. Additionally, the team built a volleyball pitch and held volleyball lessons. At the Meho kindergarten, there were morning arts and crafts classes for the kids and the inside walls were painted with the alphabet, numbers, and colours together with the teacher. On the last day in Mayana, the team planted trees and held the annual kindergarten sports festival.

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EDU Trip 2019

The 4 youngsters from Mayana, Damian, Dominga, Michael and Salome, aged between 14 and 19 years, started their journey and adventure to get to know some more about their country on the 12th August. Most of them had not travelled further than 100km in their lifes before, never seen mountains and none had ever seen the ocean.

Reaching Swakopmund after a very long drive and setting up camp, the plans for the following three days where made and the coastal weather added to the challenges.

Day 1 was dedicated to the topic of nature with visits to the beach, Dune 7, salt basins ,Krystall Gallery and the Snake Park.

Day 2 was dedicated to the topic of soccio ecconic experiences with an extended visit to Karakulia Weavery where they learnt about the work process of carpet making as well as the personal history of Moses  „from a cleaner to a shop owner.“

Day 3 led us to DRC (Democratic Resettlement Community) one of over 300 informal settlements in the country. Informal settlement have no infrastructure which includes no schools. More than a third of the population of the country lives in settings like this. The visit to a Kindergarten there and to the womens project in house made of plastic bottles, added to the surprises.

After their return to Mayana they presented their experience to a small audience including some members of the Mayana Meho Foundation.

We wish them that these impressions, are motivating them in finding their own way in life and withstand the call to move to cities where they are told that the grass is greener. Just in the line of the statement one of them made "...seeing is better than believing!"

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MCP Friends Trip 2018

For the Friends Trip 2018 Florentine, Larissa, Tom, Ines, Johannes (Kopernikus Gymnasium Blankenfelde) Henar (Madrid), Katha and Kathi came together to go on their journey to Mayana. Having two students and a parent that had already been to Namibia for the Harambee Challenge, as well as two teachers, created a remarkable mix of people. This year’s projects were: reading fairy tales to the kindergarten classes, crochet, knitting, making und using “Abacus”, chess, science experiments and math tutoring. The team project, which was successfully completed, was adding a climbing frame to the playground at Meho. The day before we had to leave Mayana we also organised a Kindergarten Sports Festival, including kids from Meho, Eparu and Ndango Kindergartens.

Here are some impressions from the participants:

“I’m taking with me the certainty that one cannot save the whole planet, because there is too much inequality and injustice, but also the optimism to keep helping in the future!”


“It was the second time for me, but again there was a great, warm and overwhelming welcome when we came: bright, curious children’s eyes and a delicious local dinner. “


“Highlight: appropriation of the climbing frame by the children.”


“We had a lot of fun with the kids and young people. Mostly they were first hesitant and reluctant, but then they came out of their shells.”


“Doing something actively is better than doing nothing, even if the way is not always clear and always need new orientation.”


“When I arrived everything felt like it was just a dream.”
“Unlike in Windhoek where I was a bit overwhelmed, Mayana offered me a positive impression and was at the same time stunning.”


“All in all the project and trip were fun. With me I will take the memory of the beautiful evenings.”


“When we crossed the Mururani Gate ‘border’ and the houses, the style and construction of farms changed I was impressed and shocked how people can live like that. Above all however, I was surprised and impressed by the welcoming and the food of the people in Mayana. So much joy and warmth!”


“I can now understand the people of Mayana better and got to know them even better than during the Harambee Challenge in 2017. As a result I have now learned that it is very difficult to push things forward, especially because of the government, but also the mentality is responsible for setbacks or at least only little progress.”


“I was very surprised how clumsy the people were in many things. I had imagined them to be more deft and active. In many ways it seemed like they were letting life and events drip on them like rain.“

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Edu Trip 2018 

The MCP Edu Trip is a new feature and aims to provide an opportunity for people of Mayana to get to know and experience their own country which can assist them to make informed choices about their future. They also shared their impressions with the youth of Mayana upon their return.

The team consisted of Erick, Kristantia, Markes, Monika, Silke and Tekla. We went on a 5 day trip to Swakopmund. The first day was dedicated to the topic of nature, the second to socioeconomics and arts and the last day living and learning conditions in the informal settlement called DRC (Democratic Resettlement Community).

Here some impressions of the participants;

„On this trip I have learned to know more and believe less!“


„I learned again about how they harvest salt in our sea. Our elders told that salt comes from people, like in the bible when Loths wife turned around.“


„Edu trip is good, because we learned more about our country and it is our first time and it is the first time to happen in our village. I want edu trip to continue, not for me alone but for all students or our village and to learn more about their country. I think it will be a message to the students at home when they hear about the story of their country. It will atrract them for next year. I can see we have learned lot. We can clear the story of our elders , we have to check with our own eyes, but not to tell about someone.“


„. I have seen a carpet before and I thought they are cutting it out from the cloth and now I know that it is many different steps.“



„I am so excited to see it because I never knew that I will see it in my life. In DRC I am so sorry for the life they are living. Our life is better than in DRC. We can make our own food, good houses. Not paying rent for the houses or water. We can plough and make our own food.“


„The Kindergarten in DRC, I was very angry to see that the children are drinking the water from the dustbin.“


„ And I was more happy to see the sea , birds, stones and I really felt I was somewhere else, not in Namibia anymore.“

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CAS Trip 2017

Benita, Johanna, Katharina, Leah, Monika, Rasmus, and Tim made up the CAS Team 2017. The students came from both Heidelberg and Leipzig International Schools, Germany. They each undertook projects, which included: drama, English at the Kindergarten, football, individual learning support for local kids, math lessons, and survey and infrastructure work for the future. As a team, the group organised the Kindergarten Sports Festival for the children of Ndango, Eparu and Meho Kindergartens.

Here some impressions from the participants:

• “Before I came on this trip, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. I had heard lots of things and seen pictures, but no amount of words or pictures could really describe the experience here.”

• “The attitude of the kids towards learning is really heart warming and has made me realize that I definitely chose the right project. “

• “The people here have been very helpful and very happy. Especially one kid called Erik really made an impression on me. He always makes jokes and smiles. He makes sure everyone has food on their plate before he takes some. People like Erik in the village, really changed my view on the situation. I taught Erik to use the laptop and he would always have a paper with questions on. This curiosity for learning under the circumstances they have really made me happy.”

• “I quickly realized that this trip is so much more than just the projects and it’s definitely a whole lot more than a CAS activity. My project also wasn't about me but it was all about the kids.

I would leave the kindergarten everyday with a smile on my face and a sense of fulfillment.”

• “One of the main things I will bring back is that my ideas are not always the best and I have to be better at admitting when I am wrong or make a mistake.”

• “One of the more interesting things I did during my project was the discussion I had with my students on communication. This gave me an idea of what the students struggled with in terms of communication, which I thought was very important to know if I was going to help them. The most common feedback I received was the feeling a lot of them had, which is best described as a fear of being judged by their classmates, such as being laughed at for giving the wrong answer.”

• “I have loved being here and would not mind staying longer. I will take back the joy from the others and the knowledge and places they have showed me, and keep it in my head forever. I will most defiantly share what my experience was like with others, but they would really have to go for themselves if you want to really know what I am talking about.”

• “Overall I am extremely happy with how the project turned out because it really got to make a difference, not only to the kids, but to me as well.

 I’ve come to realize that I didn't really consider how other people lived enough and I think I've developed a much better perspective on life in general and not to take things for granted.

I’ve been asked whether signing up for this trip was a mistake, and even though there have been difficulties, I’ll never regret taking this opportunity.”

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Josephs Second Visit

Joseph arrived for his second trip to Germany from the 24th April -14th May 2017 and after landing in Frankfurt continued on straight to Leipzig. There he stayed 3 days at Leipzig International School visiting many classes. A charity run for kids was organized that where not able to participate in the Harambee Challenge on the 28th April from Leipzig to Berlin.

The weekend around Labour Day Joseph saw some parts of Berlin and reunited with team members from the Harambee Challenge in Namibia. This was followed by a visit to the Kopernikus Gymnasium, Blankenfelde where Florentine, Florian and Tom presented about their trip to Namibia to the school. And also met the MCP working group there.

Two days with an agricultural focus followed where Philippe shared his knowledge about compost production and orchards, as well as a visit to a small chicken farm from Michel and a visit to a water powered mill. A visit to Sindelfingen International School followed where he was part of the celebration of International Day.

The last week of his trip Joseph was engaged at Heidelberg International School with a full timetable. A farewell get together ended his time there. During his trip he met close to 2.000 people of all ages and answered countless questions. It was also an opportunity to meet past project trip members. He truly lived up to be an ambassador of Meho and MCP!

Enjoy some highlights and challenges from Joseph’s diary:

  • “ What stands/action is the community taking against these practice of corruption? This was a challenging question from some students.”
  • “We had quite an interesting day as I had participated a event of fund raising for the first time and I was very impressed, that was my biggest highlight of the day.”
  • “I put my bag to the bus knowing that after the run I stay in Berlin, we drove to the meeting station and got all the runners & cyclist were ready waiting for the announcement of the program. I could feel inside in my heart the love the care, that the people were showing to make this challenge possible for my voice/my community’s voice in order to be heard all over the world, were this message have reached across, children, teenagers, adults, teacher and parent and all for the children of the Mayana community to receive change.”
  • “ Kefah and I were to take the last stretch of 20km, I do not speak so much German and my friend Kefah does not speak so much English but the Harambe spirit motivated us to move on while behind us was Simon with his bicycle. He did a great job breaking my communication with us since he speaks Germany and English. This was a very remarkable day for both of us. Kefah and me since the Harambee Challenge connected us together.”
  • “I was given a test by Monika and Christiane to find out if I will know at which place to go and wait for the train, it was very challenging, but I have to try my best. Making me independent in the future, so I was leading to find the right place, of departure and find the right train, the train ticket indicated the departure and time of arrival and also the name and number of the train, so this information guided me to know exactly of what I was doing and I got into the right train. My way from Berlin to Mannheim made me feel confident as I was travelling alone and independently.”
  • “Later they introduced me to the Cinema were we watched a movie. It was so very interesting since this was my first time to be in the Cinema.”
  • “I was tasting all the food from table to table and I realized how exceptional all the people are in the world regardless of their color, culture, origin and religion. This was a very unique day.”
  • “I had a very busy week as I was going from class to class just like a teacher and had a great time with the children. I have seen, learned and carry lot back home in my mind.”
  • “I arrived in Mayana the same time of day as I had left from Germany, I was very tired and exhausted but yet I was very happy to be back home knowing that the mission has been completed. I salute you all and may the Spirit of Harambee live forever for our sons and daughters.”

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Harambee Challenge Leipzig to Berlin 28th April 2017

After final prep meetings in Leipzig the week before the challenge the day before had finally arrived. The Yacoub family, under instruction of Kathi, now had to complete grocery shopping, getting the busses and several other minor details sorted for a smooth run of the challenge. After picking up Joseph from LIS, it was time to make sandwiches (120 in total) and goodie bags for all participants until rather late in the evening.

Friday April 28th 2017, an early wake-up call awaited us. All participants had to be at the Olympiastützpunkt in Leipzig at 7:30 to guarantee a punctual start of the run at 8:00. Those were some of the most stressful 30 minutes of the challenge, as runners had to be divided into the busses, and some bike did not fit into the busses…this also had to be organized. The challenge started on time at 8:00 with the first runner and accompanying cyclist. The route was spilt in three parts all operating more or less simultaneously .The moment one runner arrived at their finish line the next one(s) started. We were under quite some time pressure. At about 16:00 the last runners set off and busses made their way to the embassy in Berlin. It was a long day, with many phone calls and driving back and forth to ensure that runners actually meet at the exchange points and that some bikes would make their way to Berlin as well. At about 17:00, we had made it to the Embassy, where some more supporters had already arrived. After a few more minutes of waiting in front of the building we were asked to come in, where the Ambassador Andreas B.D. Guibeb met us. Joseph had the chance to explain why he came all the way from Mayana for this event. The room was completely full and the atmosphere breathtaking. After almost two hours, the Ambassador finished his talk with us and signed the petition, giving the day one last highlight.

  • Thank you to all runners and cyclists

Becky, Ibrahim, Sami, Lindsay, Geraldine, Jacinta, Peter, Omar, Chuck, Pana, Clara, Lisanne, Pascal, Patrick, Elijah, Hugh, Kai, Elliot, Emre, Lupia ,Mohamad, Hugo ,Eamon, Jeremy, Tom ,Sebastian, Lena , Jasmin, Florentine, Anton, Floria, Larissa, Kefah, Max, Frederic, Simon and Joseph.

  • Thanks to our bus drivers

Hans Joachim Krug, Erich Schulze, Frank Thenau and Kamal Yacoub

  • Special thanks go to our sponsors

Autohaus Lieske Eilenburg, Autohaus Rühlman Leipzig, Verein Heimvolkshochschule Dübener Heide, Orthopädische Facharzt- und Naturheilpraxis A. Yacoub without them none of this would have been possible. 

  • Personally, I would also like to thank Doris and Georg Haslebach as well as Kamal and Anke Yacoub, who helped me organize this event and reminded me not give up!

Kathi Yacoub, Organizer

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Harambe Challenge, Namibia, April 2017

17 runners cover 740 km - the distance from Mayana to Windhoek - in just 3 days!

Harambee - Let’s work together!

The team’s project was a petition run to raise awareness about the conditions in Mayana by covering the distance in a delay formation and delivering a petition to the government in Namibia’s capital. The participants were: Tom, Florentine, Florian , Anke, and Johannes (Kopernikus Gymnasium, Blankenfelde); Tom and Monika (Heidelberg International School); Sebastian (Leipzig); Lore (Swakopmund); and Joseph, Gerhard, Damian, Evalistus, Klaus, Ratio, Peter, Markes, George, Fabianus, Erick, Stanislaus, and John (Mayana).

The first step on arrival in the village was the official opening of the second classroom at Meho Kindergarten and Center.

Two days were then left for the team to train and prepare before leaving on 12th April for Day 1 of the run from Mayana to Roys Camp, where we spent the first night. Altogether we managed to cover 320 km on that day.

On Day 2, we covered 180 km and reached Otjiwarongo, where we camped again. Just after dinner, the team was complete again, when the four students who had been writing exams joined us. Day 3 started with some early morning runners and the whole team met up again in Windhoek at the weighbridge where we met the Chief Inspector of the Prime Minister’s office and the petition was finally handed over. A police escort accompanied the runners into town from where we took off to our accommodation at Windhoek International School. The goal of 740 km was exceeded.

The following day was a deserved rest day. We visited the National Museum, the State House, and the Arts and Crafts market. For 10 out of the 13 runners from Mayana, it was their first time in the capital of their country. Two days later the team was back in the village and reported to a crowd of about 200 people about the petition run and their experience. Everyone present was supportive, lots of questions were raised and answered, and we ended by dancing and singing together.

Our thanks go to:

• all participants that had prepared themselves well for the challenge.

• Allyn for providing the training plan video.

• Sebastian for filming.

• Johannes for the second car.

• Windhoek International School for food, water, energy drinks, and accommodation.

• the Frankes for the wrist bands.

• Heidelberg International School for sponsoring the caps and stickers.

• Anke and Lore for being such great camp captains.

• and all other anonymous sponsors and donors.

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MCP Friends Trip 2016

The Friends Trip Team 2016 set a new standard for MCP; at the age of 11 years, we had the youngest team member yet! The Friends Trip consisted of four members, Mike, Mollie, Christian, and Katherine, and one project leader, Roberto. This provided us with a highly diverse team. This year we worked on the following: the filming of Day in the Life of Julia ; crafts; games; American Football training; computer training; English; the painting the Eparu Kindergarten; and learning about the differences between state and tribal law. We also got a head start on the orchard and chicken coops. In addition, during our 12-day stay, we organized the MCP Kids Sport Festival, running American Football and brain games.

Some Impressions from this year’s participants:

"So much fun to see the smiling faces.”

“Do you think they liked your project? 'Yes, Better than my Mom's!”

“It is amazing how it did not take long for my children to connect…no boundaries for children.”

“I like the fact that I could not finish while I was there. This has kept MCP in my mind and my heart.”

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The Make Change Possible CAS (Creativity, Activity, Service) Trip 2016

The MCP CAS Trip 2016 was made up of three students, two teachers, and two people from the MCP network (from Manager für Menschen and Kleine Engel).

The participants were Arthur, Christine, Elisa, Laura, Lore, Monika, and Veronik with the student contingent hailing from Leipzig and Stuttgart International School.

The projects were in the areas of art and working with the Boys and Girls Club. There was also a great focus on the Kindergarten groups of the Meho and Eparu Kindergartens. The local teachers received workshops and the grounds of Eparu were upgraded with a playground, fence, and flooring. We are very happy that the grounds of Eparu are now registered in the name of MCP and we are now preparing for the Kindergarten’s full integration with MCP.

This year’s team project was a Kindergarten Sports Festival, which saw 100 children from the three Kindergartens, Meho, Eparu, and Ndango, taking part. Much enjoyed by the children and teachers, the project provided new experiences and opportunities for working together. We hope a new tradition has been created here.

Impressions from participants on the trip:

“My first impressions of Namibia is that on average people are happier than in Germany. Its landscapes are beautifully impressive.”

“I thought my project would just focus on the playground here. I figured it also included building a whole fence around the area of the playground, which is a lot of physical work and additional dealing the sun and the hot weather it is very exhausting. However the physical work also makes you feel like you have achieved something and it makes you very proud.”

“My project and experience during the time I spent in Mayana has made me realize that people in the community are suffering yet are still prospering at the same time.”

“I changed as a person by realizing I have to think ahead more and can’t take everything so lightly as I usually do, which is difficult because I try very hard to avoid problems.”

“Overall the trip was very impressive and changed the way you look at things. The people and the lifestyle you get in the village really showed me that you need not have a lot to be happy. That definitely changed my attitude towards things.”

 “I learned about community and using others for help in times of need. This really made me think about my lack of community at home. The team made us feel a part of their community from the first moment, so welcoming and joyous, letting us into their lives.”

“I was able to witness kids from different age groups put their creativity in action; seeing them opening their mind to create was something wonderful.”

“During my time in Mayana I understand that none of the people chose to be born here but some of them are working hard to make life better for the community. It made me realize that even I currently live in the last country I will ever call home, I will take example from the team to make life better on the other side.”

“As we drive away from Mayana I have the remembering song in my head. The team told us that they would always remember us in their hearts and as we drive I know they will always have a place in my heart too.”

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Christine Stockmann - Manager für Menschen

First Interim Advisor in Mayana

From May until mid July 2016 Christine Stockmann spend ten weeks as an interim advisor from "Manager für Menschen"  in Mayana. Christine coached the team on how to improve their programs, established new procedures for the team, created new forms for the kindergarten and activities and implemented together with the project manager Joseph a new reporting and bookkeeping system for the Meho Center. 

Read about Christine's experience:


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MCP CAS Trip Winter 2015

The MCP CAS trip team of June/July was from three international schools: H.I.S.(Heidelberg International School, Germany), L.I.S.,(Leipzig International School, Germany) and W.I.S. (Windhoek International School, Namibia.)

The eight members of the team - Celine, Charlot, Gwen, Kathi, Leila, Monika, Natasha, Roberto, and Wendy - came from six different nations (America, Britain, China, Germany, Jamaica and Namibia) with various experience and added an international “spice” to the trip.

The projects delivered were: English, biology, maths and computer lessons, canvas bag painting at the Kindergarten, girls football training, and  building a greenhouse . The team project was the 5th Midwinter Challenge that was named B&B (Body and Brain), which consisted of a volleyball and games tournament. Beyond that, the team planted trees and helped work towards the completion of the guesthouse.

Enjoy some of the personal reflection from the trip participants:

“In 3 words I can describe for my days as busy, worth it and amazing. This applies for the whole trip.”

“It made me proud when I come to the school my class either shouted out “ bingo” or my name, I felt like star for a second..”

“The trip was challenging and sometimes very tough as well as hard, but we still stayed a team and approached every task with motivation. I really appreciate the things I took and can take from this trip.”

“It has opened my eyes to many things I didn’t know about.. Examples are the education level in the government schools and the kind of mistreatment students are getting from the teachers. I have also learned that teachers aren’t serious about teaching and education. I have also learned that it is all a domino effect. The teachers aren’t serious and therefore students do not have a good enough reason to be serious in school. They mirror the teachers’ behavior and attitude towards education. Also the knowledge I gained from the community I stayed in. They were extremely supportive and I am so thankful for that.”

“ I just wanted to say thank you to everybody I met and worked with for this priceless experience even on the hard days where energy was low.”

“When I left Mayana  I didn’t say goodbye but rather see you soon. I can’t wait to be back as soon as possible, meeting all of these great people again. “

“It was an incredible experience and I am already waiting for the day when I will be coming back to see how the trees have grown, how many girls will be playing football by then … Thank you to everyone for making this an incredible, unforgettable and unbelievably enjoyable experience!"

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Joseph Mbamba

“The 11th April 2015 was the day of set up from Mayana to Windhoek….be reminded that this is the first time that one of  Mayana travels back with the team from MCP…... 9.30 was the time of taking off and I was very, very scared for 1 hour. But later it was calm again and the ride got more interesting while in the air…”

These words are taken from the diary of Joseph Mbamba, the first participant in an MCP Project Trip from Namibia to  Europe. Thanks to Joseph’s willingness, the support of MCP, and the interest of five different schools across Germany, April 2015 was a month of collaboration, education, friendship, and fun. Joseph spent 21 days  in Germany. His goals were clear: to deepen the relationship between the Mayana community and the MCP supports in Germany; to educate and inform people about the real difference MCP makes; and to give Joseph, as a representative of his community, the opportunity to see what happens in and around Germany to make MCP’s progress possible.

For those students, teachers and friends who have been on a project trip it was a moment of reunion, for those going or thinking of going, it was a period of inspiration.

Joseph's first stop was Heidelberg International School, where he met students, staff and parents who had lots and lots  of questions. “This was a very first, interesting and lovely day to meet amazing children that are so very independent and open to ask questions,” Joseph wrote. “One of the question from the student was do you have toilets and shower? And do you have TV in your home? My reply was no, we use the river to bath and to do our laundry but still using the bush as toilets. Mayana community does not have power or electricity so it is not so important to have a TV that will be just decoration.” It was immediately clear that Joseph was going to be open and honest, answering with patience and understanding. Thanks to this, he endeared himself to everyone in the community immediately.

It was vital that Joseph met all sections of the school communities, and, in presentations to parents, he spoke frankly about the need for money as tool, but the absolute importance that those using it know how to do so responsibly. He stressed the positive impact that the MCP project trips have on both the student participants and the community members in Namibia. He also gave a poignant reminder to us all, by sharing stories of his own family, that parents are parents wherever they are in the world and just want the best for their children.

After Heidelberg, it was off to Bonn International School where Joseph received another warm welcome. In his diary he speaks of the caring people at Bonn international school and thanks the staff for introducing us to the student to have time to interact with them and thanks for all the student that have shown interest of Make Change Possible.

During his stay at Leipzig International School, Joseph got to take part in a football game, giving him the chance to practise one of his hobbies. Again, everything he did was done with good grace and humour. “This was a very interesting and funny game on that day in Leipzig and I will not forget the team spirit we all had in the pitch. The final score was 7:5 or 8:4 and this depends to whom you are talking t o!” Vital to the success of this trip were the human connections made between Joseph and his hosts - connections that he built in the classroom, around a campfire, or, as here, on the football field!

From Leipzig, Joseph continued on Blankenfelde near Berlin, where he visited the Korpernikus Gymnasium. During that trip be continued as an ambassador for his community, meeting their whole school community and learning a thing or two himself… Joseph thanks them”  for their very wonderful preparation of my visit at this school and for exposing me to their Historical place and for introducing me to a new sport of freezbe that I had enjoyed so much.  During this visit, the school hosted a BBQ, giving Joseph time to socialise and connect with people further. He remarked on the opportunity for good discussion as they were very committed to get to know MCP better than before.” Discussion, sharing, and building the future remain constant pillars of this wonderful trip.

Joseph rounded off his tour of schools at the MTL school in Karlsruhe, before returning to Heidelberg; three weeks, five schools, hundreds of people met and inspired.

Joseph’s visit exemplifies the work of MCP in the amount of knowledge and improved understanding that went both ways, from Joseph to the many people he met and vice versa. Having visited,  various different German cities, he was also able to benefit from new perspectives. Here is Joseph’s reflection on Berlin:” As we were sailing along I was able to see the parliament also and under the bridge I could see some tents pitched which I was told this are homes of somebody where they can sleep. I was imagining as many people at home think that having a white skin is a symbol to have everything in life, instead they are from the same mankind and they have the same challenge as black men do.”

Joseph’s diary is as full of thanks for all those that welcomed him. It reflects the success of this trip in his own words and is a powerful message to us all about the importance of the work that MCP does. And so this article ends as it begins, with Joseph’s reflection on an MCP milestone:

“Sitting around the fire was so a very good memories as I was sharing with the team the last reflections of my days based on highlights and challenges during my interactions at different schools with the students  Wow this is a wonderful moment that will contribute to my days to remember as I will be back home soon. Well better to say I salute you MCP and I wish you all the best and long life MCP. Long live.”  

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MCP CAS Trip 2015

The team for the Easter trip included Frany, Isa, Jenny, Louise, Luana, Monika and Vicki. All students were from Bonn International School in Germany.

The Meho Guesthouse received a great push towards completion as everyone helped with the painting, building a scullery, installing the pump and planting trees. We were also able to upgrade the garden project and get the donkey cart for water transport into action.

The team was able to support urgent educational needs by providing biology, geography and book keeping classes to Klaus, Gerhard and Daniel in order to ensure that they were able to meet the next steps on their educational journey.

Besides the weather the team had to meet many challenges and one of them was the girls football training. They were keen and eager even though they had to put up with a lot of intolerance and gender based prejudice. It became clear that this is an area to be worked on in future.

The team project was the kids sports festival with about 300 participants aged from 4-16 years. Many different activities were offered from sack hopping to volleyball supported by many helping hands and rewarded by even more happy smiles.

Here some impressions and reflections from the participants:

“This trip has opened my eyes and mind. I am touched by the people here they are so precious and I have great respect for them.”

“Finally on this trip was one of the first times that I was really motivated and excited to work for something, which was, sadly, something new for me.”

“This challenged me as a person and who I have always been. The person I am or rather I was, was not organized, hardworking and could never find the purpose and motivation for anything.”

“It makes me feel so sad and uncomfortable knowing I’m not going to be here on this bench next to the fire, but on my bed or at the dinner table. I don’t like that. I much rather sit here and enjoy the food with a bunch of amazing people than sit at home, eat expensive food, not say a word at the dinner table.”

“I don’t feel like I have the right to complain about a lot of things anymore because those small issues are stupid and ridiculous compared to the actual and REAL problems here.”

“I didn’t think it would, but it did. This experience changed me….  right now, I’m somehow scared to go back as a changed person. I’ve always been frustrated about a lot of things in my environment, but this is how I will be from now on, and I know I will make a change. “                                           

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MCP Friends Trip 2014

The team for this Friends Trip consisted of Abigail, Hugh, Bryn, Amelia, Katharina, Andreas, Sabine, Monika, Christiane and Jasper. This years team came from five different countries and did not only include adults, but also the youngest participant ever on a MCP trip at the age of 13 years. This provided us with a very diverse group of people who were all thrilled to start their projects. We worked on the following: photography and filming, English, crafts, games, computer training, making a goat protection fence for the garden project, finishing the guest house , making food preserves on the solar cooker, working with the center and vision team on planning, documenting and bookkeeping skills and implementing the solar water purification method of SODIS . During our stay we also organized the MCP Midwinter Challenge of 2014, a donkey race for kids. It was a great success with lots of participants and a huge crowd of spectators. Two of the national newspapers and a raidio station even published news about the event. The proceeds of this event will go to organizing a youth tournament for the local football and netball teams.

Here some impressions from the trip participants:

“I couldn’t imagine before quite how different peoples lives could be and how fortunate we are. My eyes have been opened more from this experience...”


“For all of us this was a dose of reality; observing and learning about the harsh existence of these beautiful people yet having the opportunity to help in a small way.”


“I have come away having felt that I have left behind some of me in Namibia but I will also take so much of what I have done back home with me.”


“It has been the most memorable trip I have ever been on and I wish to come back to Mayana with MCP to do it all again.”


Mayana 2014

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MCP CAS Trip Mayana 2014

Becky, Emmanuel, Jess, JoAnn, Josi and Monika were the CAS team in Mayana. It  included three students from three different international schools; WIS (Windhoek International School , Namibia), H.I.S. (Heidelberg International School, Germany) and LIS (Leipzig International School, Germany) as well as three teachers.
The projects included photography and filming, English and history lessons, sex education classes, computer training, sport games and a textile design workshop. Our team project was the kids sports festival with more than 300 children between 4 and 14 years.  The team were the first ones to use the facilities of the Mayana Meho Guesthouse and we are very happy to have our own “home” in the village from now on.

Here some impressions from the trip participants:
“Before I came to Mayana under MCP, I thought it was just another CAS project to get hours and update managebac.  It was a lot more than that… I experienced a communal relationship with the people of Mayana and I learned a lot from them.” 

“As we ate around the fire, the team in Mayana began to sing us a song which said ‘I remember’ and then they mention the names of the people they remember. It was very heart-warming as they remember all the people that have been on the previous MCP trips. It shows that an impact its truly being made.”

“At the end of this experience I believe I have become more mature and more responsible. I still think there is so much more room for me to grow. I Plan on returning again with hopes of seeing the friends I have made a change from before in Mayana.”

“ I will miss everyone that I have met here and just being in Mayana, Namibia. The Mbamba family was very kind and really gave me a sense of having another family away from home. I have made many friends along the way and hope to keep in touch with these special people.”

“Coming into this trip I already knew I would have to come back. These people are truly amazing and I have so much respect for their way of life. This trip had opened my eyes to be fearless to new experiences and take advantage of good opportunities when they come by. I would really love to come back next year and for many more years to come. “

“My experiences during the time in Mayana were over the top and incredible. I met people who were so different in their character but still followed the same goal. They want to do something for their village. The effort and spirit they put in every step they take towards developing in so many areas is indescribable. Through my projects and through talking to so many different people and interacting with them made me feel confident about myself. Through seeing their achievements and what they see as the priorities made me also realize who I want to be and who I want to become in the future.”

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MCP Friends Trip Mayana 2013

The project team was made up of Jasper, participant on the 2011 CAS Trip from the Netherlands, Sabine and Andreas from Germany, and their daughter and first time project leader Katharina.They took over from the CAS team and worked on several projects together with the local Vision Team consisting of Joseph, Moses, Engelberth, Rhoide, Daniel and John.

Jasper held a meeting with the local football and netball coaches and formed an agreement with them regarding future sponsorship of youth and adult sports in Mayana. However, Jasper's main project was the building of a playground at the newly erected kindergarten. Together, the men put lots of hard work - on everybody's side - and sweat - mainly on Jasper's side - into the building of a swing set and monkey bars. The colourfully painted area is surrounded by tires that provide both an area for practicing balance, as well as a place for lessons outside. 

Plenty of material was required for this project, and Andreas soon turned out to be the perfect operator of a car packed to the rim with poles, tools, etc. - and a very frequent customer of the local hardware store. In his sparse time off from his job as a driver, Andreas taught John and Engelberth various board games, which they will pass on to others in their Girls & Boys club at the centre.

The development of the Mayana Meho Kindergarten and Centre was Katharina's main task. In a meeting with the centre team the outlines and goals for all coming programmes were developed and a schedule was set. Katharina found a big helper in Sabine, who had become unoccupied after her Garden project got held up due to material shortage - none of Namibia's hardware stores had black garden pipes in store. While Moses was working hard on setting up the basic parameters of the garden, Sabine retreated out of the burning midday sun and into the cooler centre to help Katharina with inventory work, as well as setting up a system for the library together with Daniel. In the afternoon Sabine took over the recorder class, while Katharina gave English and German lessons.

On July 22, the team's last day in Mayana, MCP celebrated the groundbreaking for the Mayana Meho Guesthouse. Once erected, the guesthouse will be accomodating future trip participants. It is located right in the middle of the Mayana village and directly neighbours Joseph Mbamba's house. After Jasper, Joseph, Moses and Katharina broke the ground, others - including the village headman and the Mbamba family - planted several trees surrounding the property. We wish to see them grow with this project, the village and its people. The ceremony - and our whole trip, really - was concluded by a fantastic performance by the Mayana Primary School's Traditional Dance group and traditional dinner around the fire under the African starlit sky.

CAS Trip Mayana 2013

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MCP CAS Trip Mayana 2013

The project participants Birgit, Carla, Emma, Laura, Monika and Taya from Heidelberg International School, Germany and Dina from the DRC Community Center Swakopmund, Daniel, Engelberth, John, Joseph, Moses and Rhoide from Mayana made up the team. And not to forget our four legged team member “Watch out”.

This trip was marked by many new experiences; a new setting by camping in the garden of Moses house as well as being the first “girls” only team and an overall project focus on arts; being it the huge mural on the east wall of the Kindergarten, the recorder lessons, writers workshop or singing as well as language and computer lessons. The solar cooker project was met with some challenges however remains a goal for the future. The group was pulled together and challenged by two big team projects the first one being the Mayana Midwinter Challenge being a canoe race across the Okavango this year with 40 participants. The second one was the official opening of the Mayana Meho Kindergarten and Centre. In the opening ceremony many project aspects contributed to the program and gave a preview of the centre’s planned activities. Both events were a big success.
Many impressions were collected by each participant from overseas as well as locals and shared around the evening fire and our daily reflection of “highlights and challenges”. Here some samples of participants:

“It is difficult, but in the same moment I have the feeling that it is the right time, that I am here. I’m ready for a change in my mind. So I leave with a lot of question marks, not knowing what these experiences have done and will do with me.

I feel richer and I feel calmer in contrast to my arrival.

I feel safer, but on the other hand less safe.

I feel happier, but also sadder.

I had the chance to see both sides of the coin of life and so, for short moments, I feel complete in a still unknown way.”

“One thing that really fascinated me and which I also didn’t expect was that all the people who live in Mayana are happy and they don’t complain about their life, we complain way too much about unnecessary things and they still look at life in an optimistic way even when times get really tough. I want to take that optimistic attitude with me to Germany because that’s a thing which always helps you to stay motivated. I will never understand fully how these people live their life and how everything worked out but I can say one thing that I have respect for them.”

“Before going to Africa I also didn’t appreciate as many things as I do now. Now, I know that having a warm shower, a bed and a nice family is a luxury. At the end of these two weeks, my phone almost seems like something magical. I’ve come to the realization, I don’t actually need much to be a happy person.  This trip has taught me so much about myself, and that is something that no one can ever take away from me. I’ve made great friends, friends for life. I will never forget their smiles, their hard work and dedication because it has been my main inspiration to become a better person, wanting to help and take my fair bit of responsibility in this world.”

“Being part of people that don’t judge a person according to their qualifications, but are willing to learn and listen to what each and every one has to give. I am happy. Yes I am happy! Thank you MCP. Thanks to all, I have found my home, that’s MCP and a family that share the same vision than myself. Let’s hold hands!!!”

MCP CAS Trip to Swakopmund 2013

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MCP CAS Trip to Swakopmund 2013

The second MCP CAS Trip to Swakopmund took place between 21st of March and 1st of April 2013. Windhoek International School was represented with Edwina, Georgia, Jan, Maggie, Nasim, Nellie, Phillipa, Rachel, Roberto,  Rui, Ruth, Sanni, Sharifa and Victoria and Leipzig International School was represented by Ondrej. Monika was the project leader. Engelberth from the Mayana Community in Kavango region joined this trip as a first representative of the Namibian MCP members. The team was fortunate to use the facilities provided by the DRC Community Center for the second time round. We were organized in an indoor and an outdoor team, where the outdoor team focused on sport activities and the indoor team on art activities. The whole team project was a soccer tournament for 40 kids from DRC (Democratic Resettlement Community) at the beach front in Swakopmund. Both teams  focused  on their project plans and on the other hand supported and supplement each other in a great way.  

Many stories could be told by each project participant as well as kids from DRC. The personal bonding, interaction and friendships that developed.  For the final reflection each participant had to find one word to describe the process and experience of this trip following these questions:

“What did I come with? -  What did I experience?  -  What do I take away from this trip?” 

uncertainty – humbleness – openness 

fear – happiness – inspiration 

anxiety – richness – strength 

confusion – adaption – gratitude 

naivety – joy – appreciation 

uncertainty – appreciation – inspiration 

trust – calm – refreshed 

nothing – happiness - respect

uncertainty – joy – and something 

confusion – togetherness – motivation 

apprehension – discomfort – hope

And each word tells a story!

2012 Swakopmund 1

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Here are the project teams that worked on the projects in 2012. For the pioneering trip to the new project in Swakopmund, Namibia. A joint venture of students from H.I.S. (Heidelberg International School, Germany and W.I.S. (Windhoek International School, Namibia) as well as students from the Poly Technics, Windhoek, Namibia.

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Exchange Trip: Mayana to Swakopmund

In November 2012 Christiane Casper travelled to Swakopmund to meet with Joseph Mbamba from Mayana, who is one of MCP's most important contact persons from the community. The aim of her project trip was to help Joseph improve his computer skills to enhance and maintain communication between Namibia and Germany throughout the whole year. Furthermore, the trip was an opportunity for Joseph to get to know his country better. Christiane and Joseph documented their experience in a diary, which you can view by clicking the image gallery on the left.


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MCP Friends Trip to Mayana 2012

The team consisted of three graduate students from Heidelberg International School (Katharina and Neil) and the Nelson Mandela School, Berlin (Pauline) and three IB diploma students from Heidelberg International School. (John, Erik and Nik)

The two team projects were the “Kids Olymics” a sports festival for U 14 year olds and the “Mayana Midwinter Challenge” a sports challenge that the village community decides on. This year it was a half marathon from Mayana to Rundu with 18 participants escorted by police vehicles.

The individual projects ranged from a film production “A day in the life of Gerhard” a 12 year old boy from Mayana as well as a music CD production capturing traditional songs and lyrics. Further- more the after school program with playing games was developed further and handed in the responsibility of the grade 8 students of Kayengona Combined School. The football training for under 14 year olds was joined by boys and girls alike. The construction team completed a store room for the Mayana Pre School that now provides more space for the children in their classrooms.Computer training for a number of adults was given and we were able to supply them with lap tops, e-mail accounts and web sticks, enabling direct communication from now on. The longest standing project “sit and knit” was looked after where guests of the lodge as well as some women of the village have produced and shared out about 30 blankets in the past 3 years.Credits to Pauline Boßdorf, she provided some excellent pictures of this project trip.

Here some impression from the trip participants: 

“I will be forever thankful for this trip that has taught be maybe more than a decade of school. Mayana was a life changing experience.”
“My time here has made me see so many things differently and for that, I will be forever grateful. Leaving was hard and kind of bittersweet. Bitter because I’m leaving the friends I made over the past two weeks, but sweet because I’ll get to see how much the community has changed when I come back next year.”“Going back to Germany is something that concerns me a little bit because I know everything will be different. But maybe different isn’t such a bad thing. I will forever remember Mayana and the people there in my heart, and I think it will make me a better person. I’m coming back as soon as possible, this much I know for certain.”

“Mayana was a really nice experience, but also a huge change on me. You really could see yourself, but also others change into new characters.”“Also interacting with the other people was so amazing and changed me. When I will come back to Germany, I think I will notice how different it is and how peaceful and calm Africa actually was.“

“The main thing about Mayana is that I got to find and realize the inner self of me and it is a whole new experience. I will never forget this trip. I am already looking forward to and planning things we can do for the kids. I will miss Moses, Joseph, Engelberth, Andrew, and the list goes on and on, but the one thing I will miss the most out of everything is the smiles from each and every person and I thank them so much.“

“It’s a funny feeling leaving this place so soon. I want to come back as soon as I can. I would recommend this trip to everyone. It is a wonderful working, learning, and teaching experience. You meet amazing people, do incredible things, and see some of the most beautiful things in the world. Namibia is great, and I have made some great friends while here. I will be back soon to be sure.”

Poly Technic of Namibia - Project Trip to Mayana 23rd-25th July 2012

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Poly Technic of Namibia - Project Trip to Mayana 23rd-25th July 2012

A team of 8 students (Buffalo, Jessy, Leticia, Salmi, Kristi, Leon, Loide and Tezza) from the Pro Learning Unit for business and entrepreneurship from the Poly Technic Namibia and Akseli an exchange student from the university of Tampara, Finnland formed the team that visited Mayana in a 24 hour brainstorming session. One team focused on the short and long term perspectives and opportunities to increase the value of education in the people of Mayana. The second team worked on reproducible and sustainable small business concepts for the village. Both teams conducted interviews and held meetings with the people of the village. They reported their findings in a presentation as well as in written form.

Here some personal impressions and reflections:

“This was my first social project were I got to witness first-hand the plight of my less-advantaged fellow country persons and it was a humbling experience and it invoked some serious emotions as a future leader of my country. I am thankful to the MCP for the eye opening opportunity and to the Manyana community for making our stay here memorable. They are truly marvelous people and we shall walk this road together and affect change.”“This has been a total amazing experience. It’s scary to say that I am a Namibian yet am not aware of all the problems the people of Mayana village in the Okavango region are facing.”

“It has been a totally blessed and awesome opportunity to work with MCP on this project. People have really changed my perspective on how to deal with issues despite the constant setbacks from various people. What I will take away with me is that: we should not judge people for their intent but for what they do. We need to seriously follow our passion and not let anyone try to stop us. I feel like I have been adopted into a whole new family and I cannot wait to come back to see how projects are implemented and so we can help in that process as well. Finally, education is the key and it is not limited to a class, so it is important to constantly be willing to learn and have an open mind.”

Pioneering CAS Trip at the new project in Swakopmund, June 2012

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Pioneering CAS Trip at the new project in Swakopmund, June 2012

The project is in the location of DRC (Democratic Resettlement Community) to establish an arts program that takes place in the facilities of the DRC Community Centre. Six students from H.I.S. in Germany (Heidelberg International School) and W.I.S. in Namibia (Windhoek International School) formed the team to support the local visionary and artist Ronald Kharuxab.

Firstly Neil ran a weaving workshop for kids in co-operation with Karakulia Weavers. It included making looms for future use at the DRC Community Centre. An art workshop was organized and held together with Ronald. Followed by a sand sculpture competition at the beachfront where the general public was invited to be the judges. This event was greatly supported through the presence of Elemotho, the  ambassador of MCP. With the support of Dillon, Daniel, Chris, Zoe ,Maggie and Alicia we organized and held a writers workshop where the children wrote and illustrated their own stories. Another project was the art workshop for the DRC Kindergarten as well as decorating the wall of the ablution block.

A social highlight at the end of this trip was a barbeque held at W.I.S. that gave students, parents and staff the possibility to meet. This event was also the meeting ground for the MCP Friends Trip participants and future co-operation with W.I.S.

Friends Trip 2011

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For the first time we had two project groups travelling to Namibia. In the MCP CAS Trip,  with four students and two teachers, six people from five nations organized a football and netball tournament for the local teams as well as a sports festival for children. Other projects were English and computer classes for the teachers of the Mayana Pre-school, an after school activity at Kayengona Combined School that taught the children board and card games, football training for under 14-year-old children, and the construction of a shelter.

The MCP Friends Trip  participants completed the shelter and established a mobile library. The Meho Kindergarten have now found their home in the shelter. Further projects were a sewing workshop for local women, a video portrait of the founding teacher of the Mayana Pre-school, and the Mayana Midwinter Challenge as a sports event.


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The first H.I.S. international CAS project, comprising two students from grade 11 and two teachers, was a great success. The framework for the projects, the preparation for the participants and the involvement of the school community took shape. The project was named the Mayana Community Project.  Its motto became, “Put your eyes on tomorrow and your feet on today!” (Mirjam Makeba), and the vision took organizational form under the official banner of Make Change Possible e.V.  


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The vision turned into action. Lawrence Gillman and Monika Handwerker approached H.I.S. with the idea of an international CAS project for the school in Mayana. On a trip of private nature, they travelled for six weeks together in Mayana and within a few days the range of possibilities to launch a CAS school project became apparent. On their return, they presented the proposed project. It was subsequently adopted by H.I.S. 


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An H.I.S. student, Lawrence Gillman, knowing about Monika's involvement in Africa, showed an interest in doing something useful as part of his gap year before joining the first diploma cohort of Heidelberg International School (H.I.S.). And so they agreed to pioneer an international CAS project together with one student and one teacher. And meanwhile people's life in Mayana went on…  

2007  on a private trip staying at the N’Kwazi Lodge in Mayana,  Monika Handwerker, teacher at H.I.S., experienced a unique atmosphere in the region and noticed the small wooden elephants on sale to raise money for the local orphans. The interest was aroused and she was determined to return.

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On a private trip staying at the N’Kwazi Lodge in Mayana, Monika Handwerker, teacher at H.I.S., experienced a unique atmosphere in the region and noticed the small wooden elephants on sale to raise money for the local orphans. Her interest was aroused and she was determined to return.