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World Tour with Impact

''Terra Humana'' provides sustained support for educational projects. Aided by donated materials, the nuns are able to maintain a high standard of teaching.
"Terra Humana" provides sustained support for educational projects. Aided by donated materials, the nuns are able to maintain a high standard of teaching.
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Traveling around the world shapes a person. This was Heidelberg print instructor Stefan Spiecker's experience. After a globetrotting tour lasting one and a half years, he founded the help organization "Terra Humana." With this - and a small printing press - he supports relief projects in Asia.

Mr. Spiecker, why do you actively dedicate yourself to people on the other side of the world?
Spiecker:
The initial spark came during a trip around the world. I took some time off for myself from January 2004 to September 2005 and traveled around the world. During this time, I stayed quite a while in South America and Asia. In the process, I noticed how much of a difference you can make in these countries with relatively little money.

Your activities focus on Burma, Nepal and Thailand. Why these particular countries?
Spiecker:
That's due to the nature of my trip. At first I didn't tend to stay in one place for very long. You don't stay long because you want to see so much. After about a year, this changed. All of a sudden other things grew more important. That's why I spent more time in Asia than in South America. When the local people notice that you have time for them and are interested in them, they open up. This happened to me with a Tibetan family with whom I stayed. Little by little, contact became more intense, and this contact has left a lasting impression long after the trip.

What was the most decisive moment for your social commitment?
Spiecker: It was in New Delhi in the railway mission office. There were seven children there who had been "found" in the trains. That happens there a lot. The mission supports a home with more than 600 children, usually homeless children, who had previously lived on the trains. When I saw this, I wanted to donate a bit of money. It wasn't a lot, only 50 dollars. But the helper there couldn't fathom his luck. For him, that was a lot of money. Up until that point, I wasn't aware that you could repair a roof or provide two children with food, a school education and medicine for a month with 50 dollars.
14-year-old Asa arrived as an orphan at the Mae Sai Children’s Home. He completed a two-year apprenticeship as a mechanic at the home’s workshop. He is one of the first young people to be operating a Heidelberg press.
14-year-old Asa arrived as an orphan at the Mae Sai Children’s Home. He completed a two-year apprenticeship as a mechanic at the home’s workshop. He is one of the first young people to be operating a Heidelberg press.
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In the meantime, you've been back for a while and created "Terra Humana." The organization supports a home for children in Mae Sai in northern Thailand, among other things.
Spiecker:
Yes, that is a home for children and youth with a vocational training center for bakers, mechanics, welders and computer technicians. The training lasts at least three months and is held by the Senior Expert Service from the Foundation of German Industry for International Cooperation. Even though all the youth are from the underprivileged hill tribes and therefore don't really have any prospects for their future, they are able to significantly improve their job prospects in this way because the Western educators in Thailand have an excellent reputation.

You were also able to persuade Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG to help.
Spiecker: The Heidelberg branch in Thailand donated a small, two-color sheetfed offset printing press to the training center. It's a very simple model, but many of the small Thai print shops don't print with highly automated machines anyway. They're simply lacking the money for that.

What goal do you have in mind with the printing press?
Spiecker: We want to train young people on it so that they can find a job in a print shop. The first three-month course will begin in the spring. In addition, the training center will take on print orders so that it can earn money on its own and not be dependent on donations alone.

Will you be leading the course yourself?
Spiecker: No. Someone from the Senior Expert Service will take that over, too. But it is indeed a big wish of mine to instruct a course like this some time. Unfortunately, I don't have enough vacation time to stay away from work for several months again.

What's your next project?
Spiecker: Part of it is a house for widows of lepers in Burma. It can't be completed because the money is lacking. The six women who were initially supposed to live there still live at the leprosy center under very poor and cramped conditions. As "pariahs," they can't return to their normal village community. I want to help raise 14,749 dollars (10,000 Euro) so that these woman can once again have a home.

Donation Bank Account
Terra Humana e.V.
H+G Bank Heidelberg
Bank code: 672 901 00
Account No.: 220 211 17

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"Terra Humana"

The organization Terra Humana cooperates with independent relief projects in Thailand, Nepal and Burma. Among them are homes for disabled children, girls who have been sexually abused, orphans, street children and lepers plus their family members, as well as families from the lowest castes in Nepal. The projects focus on nutrition, education and basic medical care. Terra Humana founder, Stefan Spiecker, always wants to know each project and the people behind it. In this way, he guarantees Heidelberg that donations reach the right people.

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