Honoured and proud: German Federal Minister for Economic Development and Cooperation visits BHS/AfC in Weiherhammer (13 October 2016)

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The private German NGO (non-governmental organisation) Angels for Children, the University of Education Karlsruhe, the machine-producing company BHS Corrugated, and the transregional training centre of East Bavaria in vocational eduation (“UeBZO”) have united forces and thereby now operate as stakeholders in global development aid, local and international vocational and teacher training, economic success, and regional development. The model character of this constellation was confirmed and honoured by the high-ranking visit of the German Federal Minister for Economic Development and Cooperation, Dr. Gerhard (Gerd) Mueller, on 13 October 2016.

In a short but diverse programme of 1 ½ hours, Dr. Gerhard Mueller was introduced to the company BHS Corrugated and to the training centre UeBZO at their headquarters in Weiherhammer, Germany. Also, the project leaders of the “Teaching English in Laos” project Prof. Dr. Isabel Martin (University of Education Karlsruhe) and Bernhard Fuerst (Angels for Children) presented the developments of the  cooperative new project in Laos, together with the director of the Lao-German Technical College Mr Somlith Virivong.

Following the last project meetings in Vientiane, BHS Corrugated had invited Mr Virivong to Germany in order to plan future steps of the “Recruitment and Training Programme” together.

The delegation and 150 guests finally went on a short tour through the “Innovation Centre“.

The programme in more detail: After a warm welcome by Mr Christian Engel and Mr Lars Engel, managing directors of BHS Corrugated and board members of the Angels for Children foundation, project manager Mr Johannes Zeck presented an overview of the history and mission of Angels for Children and the project “Teaching English in Laos”, which now involves the University of Education Karlsruhe, the Lao-German Technical College, the Recruitment and Training Programme with BHS Corrugated, and the UeBZO.

The delegation then signed the visitors’ book of the town of Weiherhammer, after which the Minister addressed the audience with a speech himself. He delineated the connection between our work and aims with the work and aims of his Ministry.

In his view, our project deals with global challenges: Education, migration, food safety and transportation,  environmental problems, increasing consumption in the Asian part of the world. The last few years have seen the continuous growth of the global population and severe migration crises, which highlights once more the importance of international cooperations.
The crucial factor in tackling these global issues is education. Fostering education in underprivileged communities and countries by training and supporting the teachers, skilled workers, and decision-makers is the key to solving our global problems and for shaping a better future. From a European perspective: Helping to make life easier in less fortunate parts of the world also means stabilizing Europe by reducing global reasons for migration.


Thus, the Minister warmly welcomed the projects of the partners, who are determined to offer their skills and knowledge to a lesser developed part of the world – Laos. He accepted an invitation to come and visit us there, praised the general role-model character of the “Teaching English in Laos” project and invited Prof. Martin for further talks.

We would very much like to thank Minister Dr. Gerhard Mueller for the honour of his visit in Weiherhammer, and we are looking forward very much indeed to his next visit – in Laos!

Press coverage:


Text by J. Zeck
Photos by I. Martin

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