God, AIDS, Africa & HOPE

Reflections / Gedanken

Ball of HOPE is coming up

Preparation for the annual Ball of HOPE, organized by the Southern African – German Chamber of Commerce and Industry together with HOPE Cape Town, are coming into gear. It is always the time of anticipation – after knowing that the Ball is again sold out this year, obviously all should work well and the guests should have a great night out. This year for the first time, we welcome US American guests from New Jersey attending the Ball. Together with our Swiss and German resident friends the Ball of HOPE starts to become a more international affair. The day of the ball is traditionally also the day of the Annual General Meeting for the HOPE Cape Town Trust. So besides all ball related preparations also the annual report, agendas, audits, portfolio meetings have to be prepared so that the Saturday concerned runs smoothly from the morning till midnight and even further.
The Ball of HOPE is certainly a fundraiser; after the HOPE Gala in Dresden, the biggest charity event for HOPE Cape Town on an annual base. It is also a marketing tool, showcasing the work of HOPE Cape Town and it’s development from a small project into a full-fledged charity operation still locally bound to the Western Province. Here it can indeed make a difference to the people reeling with HIV, TB and related illnesses. HOPE Cape Town has children and families as its core concern and it is amazing to see, how a little help can go an extra mile in giving a youngster the right environment to prosper and achieve her or his goals in life.

The Ball of HOPE send also out the clear message that without supporters and donors a charity organization could not exist on it’s own. It relies on a network on people supporting it in many ways, be it financial, be it with volunteer work, be it with assisting in guiding the way forward. So, in a way the Ball of HOPE is also a thank you to everybody helping to make HOPE Cape Town an organization ready to serve those in need of assistance.

We welcome you to our Annual Ball of HOPE :-)

We welcome you to our Annual Ball of HOPE 🙂

Filed under: HIV and AIDS, HOPE Cape Town Association, HOPE Cape Town Association & Trust, HOPE Cape Town Association & Trust, HOPE Cape Town Trust, Networking, SA-German Chamber of Commerce & Industry, South Africa, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Going to hell…

We at HOPE Cape Town have people of all faith working for us and it has been for me not a problem at all as I believe doing good deeds bring people together. I am actually always interested in questions of Interfaith and this week, two events were taking place regarding this topic. The AGM of the Cape Town Interfaith Initiative was held at St. Marks in Cape Town and it was wonderful to see how the representatives of different religions were eager to work together. I am thrilled to continue working on the board of this fine organization contributing towards peace and understanding in the mother city.
The other event took place at Herzlia Secondary School in Cape Town where I was invited to be part of a panel, discussing with students from different schools about the importance of religion for young people in the 21st century. Quite a strong debate and I learned amongst others that I – unfortunately – will go to hell. How comes?
In one of the group discussions there was the question of friendship between a Muslim and a Christian and after lot of debate, I was told by one of the students that indeed friendship can be developed between a Christian and a Muslim, but that the friendship between two Muslims are always have a more intense meaning. The word “brotherhood” was used to describe this more intimate friendship. I also learned from my young discussion partner that a Muslim has the duty to bring the Christian onto the right path – meaning: the right religion and that he should never give up till the end. Which triggered my question: And what happens if I die without converting? He was very sorry – and one could see it in his facial expression, but he told me, that unfortunately I have to go to hell then.
I found that discussion amazing, because normally at such occasions we try to be nice to each other and avoid touchy subjects like “going to hell”. The honesty of this student made me think how much is still to learn from each other and to accept where there remain differences. But I am lucky, I don’t have to be sorry for my Muslim friends, because in my Christian heaven there is space for everyone – even those who call God “Allah”. And for the rest, I strongly believe that the mercy of God will do the rest. So no worries, but the acknowledgement, that the work of an Interfaith Council is very important. Then there are more questions than just the future of unrepentant Christians – another discussion group got on me about my interpretation of “Adam and Eve” …. but that we leave for another blog. 🙂

But I am grateful for such evenings of discussions with young people and I appreciate their frankness and honesty. We need such robust exchanges to know, who we are and what we stand for in our faith.

Filed under: Catholic Church, General, Religion and Ethics, Society and living environment, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Wrapping up…

December is always a month full of stress and hectic till the 15th – then slowly Cape Town is winding down and for the next four weeks, holidays and Christmas, family and leisure are on top of the agenda…
Last week we had our annual AGM of the HOPE Cape Town Trust. A three-hour session, full of discussion about the coming year, about new challenges and the new structures. With Prof Detlev Geiss for the first time, the trust has an elected treasurer overseeing the finances together with the Executive Committee – including chair, vice-chair and secretary.
With Viola Klein, the first trustee residing in Germany was voted a member of the board of trustees. Fundraising and marketing issues were also discussed, approval of reports and financial audited statements. For me it was amazing to see how lively the board is and how members want to contribute to the well-being of the trust and association.

This week now some preparatory work for the strategic planing of the HOPE Cape Town Association before also joining in the Cape Town holiday mood…

Filed under: HOPE Cape Town Association & Trust, HOPE Cape Town Trust, Networking, Reflection, , , , ,

11.12.2009 Rotary AGM

Rotary AGM – how do you turn around an over-aged Rotary Club and how do you get new and young members on board. This was one of the key questions during the AGM today and as with all organisations, also Rotary faces a meltdown on members and the age average is climbing in regions not wanted if you want to think of a good future for clubs. We also are searching again for a new president for the coming Rotary year. If I would not so much away, I maybe would have offered my services, but I find it unfair when one is so often gone during the year and cannot make it to the club meeting.

Rotary Club of Signal Hill is my first Rotary Club and somehow it feels home to me. I have been a member since I am in South Africa – and the club offered me at that time the first into South African society. I am grateful for this experience and I am sure we will turn the tide of age and become a more lively club again in the near future. It is one of my resolutions to assist in this next year a bit more than I have done this year.

The Rotary Club of Signal Hill also brought me to Tygerberg via the telemedicine project – so without this club, there would most probably be no HOPE Cape Town. Another reason to stay on and be faithful to the club. I admit: it is not always easy to turn up every Thursday even when one is in town . the way to the Royal Yacht Club is sometimes a lengthy one. But when I see what Rotarians are doing all good around the world, then this organisation is a great one to be associated with.

Filed under: General, HOPE Cape Town Association & Trust, Networking, Reflection, Society and living environment, , , ,

28.11.2009 Malicious journalism and great AGM’s

Giving interviews is always tricky in our days – and when the topic is HIV and AIDS and the newspaper is a Catholic one, even more. I had in Munich a lengthy interview with the LinzerKirchenzeitung – and the interviewer really did a great job. Obviously the “condom question” was prominent – again, but I felt that I really tried to be as detailed and balanced as possible. Those who are able to read German can read the excerpt under http://www.dioezese-linz.or.at/redaktion/index.php?action_new=Lesen&Article_ID=51939

This morning I find an article about the article on “kath.net” under the headline:Kondom Theologie in der Linzer Kirchenzeitung” (Condom theology in the Catholic newspaper of Linz – in German language). Reading this vile concoction I suddenly realise that I could have put it in the interview in any form – it would not matter at all. Here are people writing, who simply want to slate someone, in this case me. Anything goes, as long as at the end, the person concerned is put down. I feel ashamed that this is labeled “Catholic news. I would expect more from real Catholic news…  Love, respect and fairness are important virtues of Catholic journalism. This morning I find an article about the article on “kath.net” under the headline:

This afternoon then our two General Annual Meetings, first for the HOPE Cape Town Association and then for the HOPE Cape Town Trust. I must admit that afterwards I am really a happy man. Both AGM’s have been inspiring, a good motivation for the coming year. Dedicated trustees who want to get involved in the fundraising efforts and so adding to the work of HOPE Cape Town. One can sense that there is a good spirit amongst all of us and that the goodwill will go the extra mile to achieve the goals of HOPE Cape Town for the next years. It is indeed a pleasure to be part of such a project. And listening to the chairwoman’s report of the association, it amazes me anew, how diverse our work is. Running with it daily one sometimes tends to forget and miss the sheer bandwidth of our work.

I also want to use this blog to thank all of management, the employees, the trustees, the members of the advisory board, the sponsors and donors and friends of HOPE Cape Town for their dedication and for most I can say, for their friendship. My fellow management members I want to say a special thank you for the unique ways, we work together. It is not always easy with all the unique characters we have :-), but after 8 years one can sense that feel of belonging and appraisal for each other. For me, HOPE Cape Town is part of my family.

Filed under: HIV and AIDS, HOPE Cape Town Association & Trust, Networking, Reflection, Society and living environment, , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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