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.
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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.