Florian Krämer, Vulamasango

Martin et Karczinski supports the South African children’s aid project Vulamasango, the social village of Manas in Kirgistan and ›SOSCOBU‹, a school project in Burundi. Here is an interview with Florian Krämer, founder of Vulamasango.

Even as a youngster in Germany, you became involved in social projects, and travelled a lot before founding Positiv Leben e.V.; was there a particular moment when you knew that you wanted to get involved in Africa? 
Yes, there was. As a 19-year-old I found myself in Zaire, what is today Congo, in the turmoil of the civil war. While trying to get through the jungle into neighbouring Uganda, I got lost; I was starving and exhausted when a young boy found me. He wouldn’t give up until I found the strength to follow him. He led me through the night to a hut and left me there. It was the British ambassador in Uganda’s accommodation. The youngster had not only saved me from dire need and got me over the border; the next day, the army razed the area I had been in to the ground and virtually no one survived. After that experience, I knew that I would devote myself to the welfare of children in Africa.
How did you come to be in contact with Martin et Karczinski? 
My brother and Ancilla Martin have known each other since they were children, so that is where the connection started. Martin et Karczinski has been supporting Positiv Leben e.V. since its inception. Martin et Karczinski always organised fundraising activities right from the initial years, with the proceeds benefiting us. So there is a little piece of Martin et Karczinski in a lot of what we have achieved since 2003.
Does personal contact with supporters play a big part in your work?
Yes, personal contact is an important aspect of the fundraising work, because it creates trust. It’s also why I spend part of the year in Germany. We receive one-off donations which come and go, but we also have a lot of donors who have been supporting us for years and are very connected to us. These are often the very people who recommend us to others, and pass on that trust in us and our work through their own personal commitment.
You recently completed the first of five planned construction phases and were able to open new buildings on the Vulamasango site. The next construction phase is scheduled for 2018: how can people support you with that? 
We have already opened three houses, each accommodating ten orphaned children, plus an administrative building. For 2018, we are planning to build a further housing unit for ten orphans, two baby day-care facilities, a central kitchen/laundry room and a separate kindergarten building. The funding for that is not yet fully secured, but there is a chance that the BMZ (the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development) will give us some financial support. This is subject to us raising some of the amount ourselves: we have until September 2016 to attract donations of €166,000 for this second building phase. That is a concrete and achievable aim, and we are of course delighted to receive any contributions that brings us closer to this aim.
For more information and details about how to donate to this project, visit www.vulamasango.org