God, AIDS, Africa & HOPE

pensée of a Catholic priest

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Filed under: HOPE Gala Dresden, South Africa, , , ,

Silence or the aftermath of a living legend

Done – the 10th HOPE Gala in Dresden is part of history and most guests from far have left the city again – others have returned to their daily struggle in so many different ways. There is always that feeling of emptiness after such a big event – memories are formed, thoughts are structured and emails and pictures and newspaper clips remind you on what happened not so long ago.
Silence – I can hear the silence breaking through after days of meetings, encounters, celebrations, dinners, touching moments – and one is again alone with oneself.
But one memory is sticking in my head – another encounter with the living legend Harry Belafonte, “Mr B” as his daughter Gina called him. Charity dinner and HOPE award – and some moments of having a conversation with him. Movie clips recall the first black entertainer appearing on US TV together with a white performer. A friend of Martin Luther King, part of the black movement and the march onto Washington; his fight for civil rights in the USA, his travels and advocacy for Africa and especially South Africa and his friendship with Nelson Mandela – all coming to life in a 10 minute trailer during the charity dinner. But one sentence is still stuck in my mind: “I have never thought that I will campaign and fight for the same things 50 years later again”, he recalls while attending to racial violence in the suburbs of US American cities.
With 88 years, it seems the conclusion is that the fight never stops and that one can do so little only to be change the world or parts of it. But at the same time he is such an inspiration and encouragement while speaking and sharply analyzing the situations of todays world and confirming that he believes in the goodness of humanity.
And he is charming – telling me that “Fr Stefan and Pope Francis” are giving him hope for the Catholic Church and reconciles him a bit as a born Catholic with his church is obviously music in the ears of a priest working in South Africa . But it is also more than flattery after his also long personal struggle with the Catholic Church. And it does not end there: He has the ability to encourage and touch the lives of people instant and with a smile and an aura I have only so far experienced when I met Nelson Mandela. One can feel the struggle, the wisdom and the maturity, but also the goodness of a person without making him an instant saint – he remains human and looking at eye level.Silence – and somehow lots of faces are appearing in my mind – all those people I met during the events in Dresden, all the people who simply gave up time and / or money to come to attend, to support, to give, to share, to participate, to contribute and to make sure that Dresden is heard in this world as a city with heart and soul caring for those infected and affected by HIV and Aids far away in South Africa. For me that is another magic to be touched by the friendliness and commitment of thousands of people in the last 10 years being faithful to one cause – not letting us down but continuing to believe that sharing is making the world a better place. Ubuntu in the best sense of the word.

Silence outside, but inside there are volcanic eruptions of thoughts, of gratefulness, of yearning for a better world, for bridging the gap; there is exhaustion and joy, but also the resolutness to stand up and walk another year in the hope of touching lives and bridging gaps to better the world by assisting those less fortune. And the hope that one day this seemingly endless struggle succeed and the world is a better place for all. Remember these words from the son “We are the world..”? A song Mr B organised to make us all aware of our responsiblity – until today.

I want to conclude this silent reflection with a thanks to Saxonia Systems, Viola and Hermjo Klein, ParX and Michaela Gornickel and her team and all involved in the 10th HOPE Gala in Dresden. You are all in my heart which is grateful forever.Foto Michael Schmidt vl Viola Klein Harry Belafonte Stefan Hippler001

Filed under: Catholic Church, General, HIV and AIDS, HOPE Cape Town Association & Trust, HOPE Cape Town Trust, HOPE Gala Dresden, Reflection, , , , , , ,

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, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

HOPE Gala Dresden sold out again

HOPE GalaThis is again exciting news: The HOPE Gala in Dresden is sold out again – and many requests for tickets are still coming in. It it once again amazing to know that experiencing a great eve and doing good can go a long way together. HOPE Cape Town is delighted as are also the organizers. Two days before the event, I can sense that strains and expectations are rising – and thousands of little things are still to be fixed, organised and put on track. Arriving in Dresden on Tuesday with Fr Wim and meeting some of the supporters and sponsors personally beforehand it is again thrilling for me to experience the goodwill, the enthusiasm and willingness to go the extra mile to make the event a success and to give at the same time hope and future to HIV affected and infected children in South Africa.

Meeting Andreas and Katrin Moench – whose wedding in Cape Town was the starting point of the HOPE Gala 2001 in somehow mysterious ways and watching Viola Klein and Michaela Gornickel spearheading every years events is more than just a pleasure – it feels good to see people determined to make a difference year after year. HOPE Cape Town is grateful to all involved by supporting, organizing and attending this years HOPE Gala Dresden – the 9th Gala in Dresden. Thanks from the bottom of my heart and in the name of all who benefit from the solidarity of all involved.

Filed under: General, HIV and AIDS, HOPE Cape Town Association, HOPE Cape Town Association & Trust, HOPE Cape Town Association & Trust, HOPE Cape Town Trust, HOPE Gala Dresden, Networking, Reflection, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Reflection on a trip to Europe

2 weeks of promoting HOPE Cape Town are coming to an end and I am sitting at Frankfurt airport waiting for my flight back home to South Africa. Time was flying as usual and sitting here and waiting gives some time to reflect on all what was happening in the last 14 days.
Faces of students are crossing my mind whom I met while giving a talk in one of the more rural schools in the northern part of Germany. People, who have never seen a HIV positive person were subjected to a talk about the danger of HIV. And not only that: how to bring the South African reality of crime, corruption and toi-toi to those who never experienced anything else than the orderly running of day-to-day life. Filling the gap, this is what HOPE Cape Town is doing in the fields of HIV and AIDS when it comes to government involvement, filling the gaps applies also when bridging the well-protected realities of a student attending school in rural Germany and those living in Manenberg or Wallecedene.
Press conference in Dresden in preparation of the HOPE Gala – another crowd of people, journalists, wanting to know the progress of HOPE Cape Town’s work in the Western Cape and how money is spend in a responsible way. Pre-recording for a German radio broadcaster – HOPE Cape Town’s story and some private talk included – the moderator wants to know the person behind the project including the seemingly ever hot topic of church and HIV and the famous “c” question…Bridging worlds means also knowing different people – a wedding in France was another highlight on this trip to Europe – diving into the world of stars and VIP’s and playing a small little role in the romance of two people. It’s more on the private side but also serves some networking for HOPE Cape Town on a very different scale.
So from the small town student to the previous chancellor of Germany – the scale of people I met was quite amazing and so have been the interactions and chats in between. Being able to touch the lives of so different people in so many different ways – this is the beauty and the blessing of the work, I am allowed to do. And so remains gratefulness as the essence of the reflection I was able to do before Cape Town and HOPE Cape Town and all the others waiting for me demand again all my time and energy. Life is good.

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

13th HOPE Gala Dresden

HOPE Gala Dresden - the event to be in DresdenOctober 27th, 2018
11 months to go.

Ball of HOPE 2018

Join us @ The Westin in Cape TownMay 12th, 2018
5 months to go.

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© Rev Fr Stefan Hippler and HIV, AIDS and HOPE.
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