“Small amounts of money but a big impact”
Three questions to ...
Adrian Bosseler, Board of Directors of Bosseler & Abeking Children’s Foundation
The Bosseler & Abeking Children's Foundation was founded by the consulting firm Bosseler & Abeking, which provides advice on investments development of projects in Munich. The foundation helps children in poverty or need, both in Germany and in the so-called developing countries, so that they have a chance to build themselves a future that is worth living.
Mr. Bosseler, what motivated you, as managing director of a Munich-based company, to establish a foundation that helps needy children – for example, in Kenya, Uganda and the Philippines?
In his active time as a board member of Deutsche Bank and adviser to the German Federal Government, Alfred Herrhausen proposed the following: to cancel all of the debts of the poorest countries of the world so that the people there have a chance to build something in their country and thus have a more hopeful future. I was very impressed by this suggestion at the time. From today's point of view I think he was much more far-sighted than many others!
At the Bosseler & Abeking Children's Foundation we are particularly interested in how we can help children directly. In Kenya, for example, eye infections are a major problem. At the same time, there is a lack of trained ophthalmologists. Many children are therefore at risk of developing cataracts and suffering from visual impairment or blindness. As a result, they often experience disadvantages at school and consequently have fewer chances of finding an appropriate job. Together with the Christoffel-Blindenmission (CBM) in Kenya, we therefore decided to enable 94 children to undergo eye surgery that their families would otherwise not be able to afford. The children thus retain their sight and also the chance of a good future.
In this way, our foundation has been able to save the eyesight of children like seven-year-old Tumuti. As an infant, Tumuti’s left eye was damaged by a branch, causing the lens to cloud and leaving Tumuti almost blind. A “cataract” was the diagnosis and only an operation costing around 160 euros would help. This amount far exceeds the monthly average income in Tumuti’s location and most parents would be unable to finance such an operation. The Bosseler & Abeking Children's Foundation can take over the financing of such operations, as it receives a fixed percentage of our company’s profit. In addition, our employees also support some projects directly through internships and volunteering.
When the foundation was established, you decided to act as a grant-aid foundation and not to implement projects yourself. How do you select the partners you support and with whom you jointly implement the ideas for your foundation work?
For our international commitments, we do not work with funding applications; rather, we look ourselves for convincing partners to carry out project management on site. We have strict criteria for qualification and motivation and we examine very carefully whether financial support is needed and, if so, to what extent – as well as the extent to which it reaches the children directly.
We became aware of CBM through a member of our staff. CBM convinced us that their projects are carried out by their local partners on site. On the one hand, this ensures acceptance by the population and the authorities. On the other hand, the partners contribute important expertise, because, as a rule, it takes a lot of experience and good knowledge of local conditions to implement projects in developing countries, especially when the transport routes are poor, there are poor energy and water supplies, or when the legal framework is complicated. CBM then proposed the project in Kenya to us. I basically liked the idea of enabling children to see through surgery, which those affected in the country cannot afford. The idea of achieving such a huge effect for comparatively little money is also very exciting!
To what extent do global goals such as the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted by 193 countries at the UN General Assembly in 2015, play a role your foundation’s work?
The 2030 agenda did not yet exist when the foundation was established in 2005. At that time, I was already socially committed: for example by taking on a child sponsorship for every new employee. The 17 Sustainable Development Goals are also generally aimed at giving future generations the chance to live in prosperity, in harmony with the preservation of the environment and in a peaceful, just and inclusive society.
According to our statutes, the purpose of our Children's Foundation is to provide concrete help to children and young people in need, irrespective of their nationality, social status or religion. We will continue to do so. I am therefore all the more pleased that, within the framework of our Children's Foundation in Kenya, we are carrying out a project with CBM that contributes both to Goal 1 of the 2030 Agenda, i.e. to end poverty in all its forms and everywhere, and to Goal 3, i.e. to guarantee a healthy life for all people of all ages and to promote their well-being.