Rosemarie Kazzer went straight from idea to action and made a dream come true by starting a school far away from home. Children have always played an important role in her life, both privately and in her job. She is a mother of 5 daughters and has devoted her entire career, over 50 years, to work with children. Her last position was as a director of a preschool.
Back in 1997 she made a trip to Gambia and was confronted with the conditions of a school in Bakau – practically everything from a real building, education material to toys were missing. She flew back home very determined to change this. At her next parent meeting she presented the idea to the parents and it immediately aroused resonance. The aid project Kids help kids in Gambia was born and Rosemarie has supervised the project ever since.
In Gambia the preschools are very important for the children as they learn the English language in a playful way. Although English is the official language many children grow up with their native tribal language. Children who speak English have a much easier transition to primary school, however, the problem being that preschools receive no state funding and therefore must be operated under private management. In very poor areas almost no families can afford to put their children in a preschool.
In Rosemarie’s work there has been several milestones starting from financing school equipment and education material, install toilets and a septic tank to building a complete new school. When the property was needed for other purpose and the school had to move into undignified shacks Rosemarie managed to get sponsors among parents in here school and from bigger companies like Siemens, Bosch and Mercedes. In 2003 the new school could open up and the teachers named it Rosemarie’s Nursery School. Meanwhile there are two buildings with each 3 classrooms.
Rosemarie established a system of sponsorship for every child and meanwhile far more than thousand children have got a better preparation for school. Also many of her visions have come true like having a proper washroom, enough mosquito nets, educated teachers, dining room, playground with equipment and areas of shadows in the form of a large pavilion. Since she retired, she dedicates all her time to the project and in 2008 it became a registered association GAMCIN.e.V (Gambian Children In Need).
She has established a very good relationship with the locals and once a year she flies to Gambia on her own expense to inspect what needs to be done. Given Rosemarie’s time and available resources, the organization has been kept small and beside herself there are only a few volunteers. This make the whole association very transparent and all sponsors get first hand information about progress and can always see how the money are being spend. This is very much appreciated, as all people involved have the feeling to see and take part of the changes much more as in comparison to all the existing big aid projects/organizations.
Rosemarie is a very decent, humble and caring person. In all these years (almost 20 years) she has not done much of a buzz about her work but she has been very persistent, working in silence and working hard to improve people’s lives and give them a better future – and make a difference! Opposed to many others returning from a vacation thinking of doing something against poverty – She just did it. She went straight to action. When I asked her what has been her motivator during all these years, she says “The best part is, when I walk into my nursery and see 200 happy children – it is my engine and I have to work on.”
For me this story shows what an impact one individual can do – it goes far beyond individual children. Letting the kids be well prepared for school also means that their families and future generation dare to hope for a better life. Thanks to her assiduous work many people got new perspectives. If you know someone like Rosemarie Kazzer please share it with me.