A newspaper article became an idea ...
Hans Jürgen Pechmann
“Please tell us how Kinderhilfswerk Bergen began",
I was asked many times. It's a story, based on several events as well as coincidences, where God allowed me to be His tool to stretch out helping hands to the poor and to become a blessing for many.
It began on a cloudy day in the fall of 1974, one day like any other day. I had the usual hectic time, being responsible for an old people's home in Wietzendorf (a small village in Germany)...
It was in the morning, before the troubles began; as usual I read the newspaper. Politics, sports, always the same... "What's that?" I suddenly read: "Church in Soltau, a town close to us, sponsors child in South India." I became curious and read the whole article. I said to myself:" You are helping old people, why don't you help children too?"
It is in my hands. Whether a child can survive!!
I asked for information on the agency that arranged this sponsorship for the church. I read the brochure and became excited. There was a possibility to directly help children. I liked the idea, to have a specific child to refer to. I was personally challenged and the decision was in my hands, whether a child in the 3rd world could survive or not. The more I thought about it, the more I became aware of the fact that a child was waiting for my mercy. I could not waist time any longer, because the child could not wait. I took a sponsorship.
In January 1975 I received a friendly letter and a sponsorship-form of a little Tibetan boy named Tsewang. He was living in Rajpur, North India. I directly started paying the monthly amounts. That was a great relief for me.
I was afraid that the sponsorship was a bad trick.
Suddenly a thought struck me: "Does this child really exist? If so, does my help reach him or is the money kept in the pockets of somebody else?" Many critical questions came into my mind. I felt a little shocked that I had not thought of all this before. For several months these questions kept me busy, until I decided to travel to India myself and find out the truth. I wanted to know everything exactly and I was afraid that perhaps I had been tricked.
I travelled to India and visited my sponsor-child Tsewang. It really impressed me how good the children were treated. My money was in good hands, I was satisfied.
How to help more children effectively?
During my journey I visited many families in their houses or huts. I realized more and more what it means to be poor. Everywhere I found lack of the most basic needs. During those days I learned a lot. I faced so many overwhelming impressions. Mainly the children of the families were suffering. These experiences challenged me to think, how could we help more children effectively? The need was overwhelming!
Returning back home I felt like being on a different planet. There was such a great difference between the two countries, peoples, cultures and climate. I became very thankful for the things I had taken for granted in my life. The experiences in India had a lasting effect on me. Something inside kept challenging me to do more. To help more. But what could I do? One day I got the idea, that I had been waiting for: that a Child Helping Agency should be formed!! The idea and so inspired some friends.
Kinderhilfswerk Bergen was established in 1976!