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Visions for Children e.V. is a non-profit registered association from Hamburg. Our work focuses on the improvement of learning conditions and educational quality at schools in areas of conflict and war zones. For this purpose, school buildings and sanitary facilities are being improved, classrooms are being equipped with fundamental equipment and pupils and teachers are being provided with essential materials. Additionally, with training courses and workshops, we strive to strengthen the capacities of our target groups based on the principle of helping others help themselves. We thus provide the basic conditions necessary for high-quality learning in accordance with the fourth sustainability goal of the United Nations’ Agenda 2030.
We work together on equal footing with our local partners, including our target groups, operating independently of political, religious or ethnic group interests. We strictly decline financial support from companies whose activities or goods put children at risk or which contradict our approach to children’s rights.
Visions for Children e.V. was founded in 2006 by two friends after they had visited their home country, Afghanistan. The two were very deeply concerned with the learning conditions at the “Kalay Fatullah” day school, which was lacking in everything essential for learning. Despite the conditions of the school, our founders were so impressed by the motivation to learn among the pupils and the courage of the teachers that they immediately knew they had to help the school. After their return to Germany, Naim and Mortaza founded Visions for Children e.V. along with friends and fellow students.
Our Chairwoman Hila Limar has been awarded the One-World Medal by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). With this award, the BMZ honors outstanding personal engagement in development cooperation. Congratulations Hila and thank you for your tireless efforts!
Chairwoman of the Board Hila Limar and Visions Ambassador Wana Limar talked on the NDR Talk Show about the work of Visions for Children, how they experienced the takeover of power by the Taliban and how they continue with development projects despite the difficult conditions. The whole conversation is available in the ADR Mediathek.
You can now listen to the first episode of our podcast "The Taliban are Back: The Predictable Disaster in Afghanistan" wherever podcasts are available. In the first episode, Hila Limar and Emran Feroz talk about the developments in Afghanistan from 1970 to 2001. From now on, there will be a new episode every two weeks. Enjoy listening!
"Uganda and other African countries are not under-developed countries. They are over-exploited countries." This was just one of many poignant and important insights Wendy (pictured) and Olivia from No White Saviors shared with us during the event. Together we discussed how we can engage responsibly and sustainably without falling into the role of white saviors.
The participants of this year's proTechnicale, a study orientation and qualification year for high school graduates from all over Germany, donated the proceeds from the sale of their audio book to Visions for Children e.V.! Our Head of Fundraising Jessica received the donation on behalf of Visions, which will benefit our projects in Afghanistan.
The Taliban have been ruling in Afghanistan for a year now. Since then, the right to education for girls has been increasingly restricted. We wanted to draw attention to this in short videos on passenger television and called on people not to forget the Afghan population. Thank you so much, Berliner Fenster, Münchner Fenster, Ströer and Hamburger Hochbahn, for supporting our "Let Afghan Girls Learn"-campaign!
Emran Feroz and our Chairwoman of the Board Hila Limar have started a podcast, which is coming out soon! In "Die Taliban sind zurück -Das vorhersehbare Desaster in Afghanistan", the two Afghanistan experts inform about the bitter and uncomfortable truth - from political failures in the past to the developmental stalemate, in which the international community finds itself today. Listen to the trailer on Spotify!
On the occasion of the one-year takeover of power by the Taliban in Afghanistan, on the 13th of August we joined the protests in Hamburg and Berlin under the motto #DontForgetAfghanistan to remind the German government of its responsibility for all Afghans. We also drew attention to the situation in Afghanistan via our social networks.
As part of the Coldplay concerts in the Olympia Stadium in Berlin, a small team from Visions for Children was able to draw visitors' attention to the situation of Afghan schoolgirls.
Vision's Chairwoman of the Board Hila was a guest on the podcast “Über den Tellerrand” by Hamburg Marketing GmbH. In the episode she talks about the work of an NGO, how it's structures differ from the ones in classic companies and how the work of NGOs will develop in the future.
In the last two weeks, members of the Visions team have been on a project trip to Uganda. From Kampala, we went to Lira in the North of the country. From there, alongside our local partner organization LTP (Link to Progress), we visited ten schools in the Otuke and Oyam districts.
Chairwoman Hila spoke at Sound of Peace in front of the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin about the current situation in Afghanistan and appealed to the government to take responsibility!
In the current issue of Vogue Germany, Chairwoman of the Board Hila talks to Maria Hunstig about our work in Afghanistan and our understanding of sustainable development cooperation. Thank you for this successful and important portrait!
In cooperation with the sustainable fashion label "dirts" we have launched a limited edition collection of socks. dirts donates the entire profit to our Afghanistan projects! Our Chairwoman of the Board Hila Limar and our member Elena Kayser had the opportunity to participate in the design process.
On November 12, the issue of "Forum am Freitag" on ZDFinfo dealt with the situation in Afghanistan, including an interview with our Chairwoman of the Board Hila Limar.
For our 15th anniversary, we had planned several activities for our followers and donors and wanted to host a big party to thank all our supporters and partners. Unfortunately the developments in Afghanistan put us in the opposite of a party mood. So we spontaneously decided to cancel all plans and only do a small scale celebration for us members.
A benefit reading for Visions for Children took place at JungesSchauSpielHaus Hamburg! Author Kübra Gümüşay read from her book “Sprache und Sein”, accompanied by music from the ensemble of Junges SchauSpielHaus.
This year, Beiersdorf AG once again supported various organizations with a donation marathon on betterplace.org. Through our networks, we were able to collect 3,000 euros for our Barmwony project in Uganda and, after all, achieved 5th place in the marathon!
In October, the 30th Optimists' Prize from the "Club der Optimisten" in Hamburg was handed over to our chairwoman Hila and her sister and Visions Ambassador Wana Limar. Following a laudatory speech by Senator of the Interior and Sports Andy Grote, Hila received the check of 10,000 euros on behalf of our association.
With their initiative #DefendAfghanWomen, HÁWAR.help was able to collect donations amounting to 160,000 euros and we have been chosen as one of the donation recipients. The donation cheque of 50,000 euros was handed over by Katie from HÁWAR.help (on the left) to our deputy chairperson Saskia (on the left) and our volunteer Dilara (in the middle). The money will go towards the reconstruction of the Mohammad Parsa School in Kabul.
The organization has elected a new board of directors and an advisory board for the next two years. Hila Limar continues as chairwoman of the board with Svenja Wienböker, Saskia Haun and Süleyman Günyar as further members of the board. On the advisory board, Nielab Schahrochie, Nemo Kasztelan, Nina Ludolphi and Alexander Kopf advise and review the activities of the board.
In the show 'Forum am Freitag' of the TV channel ZDF Hila and Wana reported about their newly founded jewelry label Sevar. The jewelry is handmade from lapis lazuli in Kabul and will be produced in the future by young women in a training project. This will give the women the chance to learn a profession in order to shape their future in a self-determined and independent way. Hila also reported on the Khwaja Boghra school project and her project trip to Afghanistan. Watch it in the ZDF Mediathek!
Earlier this year, our Chairwoman Hila was a guest on both the "zenith Podcast" and "Home Girls" together with her sister and Visions Ambassador Wana. In an episode of the "opiumpodcast" Hila also talked about conscious and unconscious privilege in everyday life, impressions from trips to Afghanistan and the work of Visions. Listen in!
Well-deserved: Our CEO Hila was chosen as one of the 100 Women of the Year 2020 by Focus Magazine. Along with 99 other great and dedicated women, she landed on the cover. A portrait in the magazine featured her work for Visions for Children. We are very proud of Hila and thank her for her strong and tireless commitment to educational justice!
“Fighting poverty is big business – but who profits the most?” This is the question Michael Matheson Miller addresses in his multi-award-winning documentary film “Poverty, Inc.”. In cooperation with the Abaton cinema in Hamburg, we organized a film screening followed by a panel discussion. There, we discussed the film’s contents and alternative ways towards development cooperation. Among the guests were Svenja Wienböker, project manager of our association, and Lucy Larbi from Future of Ghana e.V. Our chairman of Visions for Children e.V., Hila Limar, moderated the event.
We are among the 100 Startsocial scholarship holders that participated in the nationwide competition for the promotion of voluntary social commitment, conducted by the German Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel. With this grant we receive non-material support, e.g. free coaching. We opted for further training on topics including work organization, financial planning and accounting, fundraising and sponsoring. Through these trainings, we aim to extend our knowledge so that we may act more profoundly and effectively in the future.
On December 16, 2019, outstanding personalities from the city of Hamburg were honored in various categories as “Hamburg Citizens of the Year 2019". Our CEO Hila and her sister Wana, ambassador and member of our association, accepted the prize for the category "social commitment" and dedicated it to the entire team at Visions. Over 250 guests invited from the fields of politics, business and media attended the evening.
With today’s members’ meeting we celebrated Hila’s 10 years as chairperson of Visions for Children. She has done tremendous work and does so every day. She is constantly fighting for an equal world in which children in war and crisis zones have more rights and opportunities. With her inspiring and empowering nature, Hila both supports and encourages the goal of standing up for others and leading by example. We could not wish for a better "boss". Many thanks to you, Hila – auf die nächsten 10 Jahre! (to the next 10 years) The drawing was designed by our member Müge Y.
Starting today, the 20Gs compilation is officially available on Spotify, iTunes, hhv.de, Amazon and Google Play. KABUL FIRE Records has gathered 20 producers from the German Hip-Hop scene to produce beats together on one record. Between June 29th and July 2nd, 2009, we sold the vinyl in the Millerntorstadion, where people had the chance to spin some rhymes themselves in our portable recording studio. All profits went to one of our school building projects in Kabul. Special thanks to all people involved for your commitment!
For the past five years we have been organizing our charity tournament in the Öjendorf Sports Park – the Visions Cup. Sporting ambition and social commitment converge when 18 teams are competing for the much sought-after cup. The common mission: Playing soccer to improve learning conditions at our project schools. All proceeds will go to our school building projects in Afghanistan and Uganda. The last Visions Cup in 2019 alone raised a total of €2,202.20!
In reply to the question – what does my donation actually achieve? – our donation shop will give you an answer. Symbolic items display what your donation can make possible. For €7, for instance, you can buy 200 pieces of chalk. For €45 you can add a whole chalkboard to that. The money from your "purchases" will be used for our school building projects, distributed in order based on the urgency of the situation. At the end, you will receive a donation certificate which you can personalize for yourself or as a gift for others.
Thanks to your support, we have been able to collect €8,000 in prize money at the Beiersdorf Donation Championship! Through nearly 800 supporters a sum of €20,982 was collected. This money will be used for our school building project in Katosi to establish a school library and new administrative rooms. The library has already been completed – about 350 students in Uganda now have free access to books and educational materials. We would like to dedicate this achievement to our supporters.
On August 26th, we organized a barbecue event in the city park! Everybody was invited to join us for the day - members, sponsors, supporters and otherwise interested people that wanted to get to know our Visions team.
At our summer party yesterday afternoon, many old and new friends met for a lively exchange. Even though the party was cancelled, we would like to thank everyone who helped us defy the Hamburg weather with coffee and cake and still made this afternoon a nice meeting.
In 2001, the Taliban destroyed the once largest standing Buddha statues in the world, carved into the rocks of the Afghan province of Bamiyan. Today, only huge holes in the rock face are proof of their existence. The Bamiyan region was chosen as the first cultural capital of South Asia in 2015. We from Visions have already been able to support the region as part of the annual winter aid campaign and are very pleased that the Ramadan donations in 2017 will now also benefit a school in Bamiyan, among others.
With funds from the BMZ amounting to almost €20,000, we are receiving greater support from the federal government for our project work for the first time this year. The cooperation with the BMZ and the bureaucracy involved meant unknown territory for us, which at times almost drove us to despair. Nevertheless, the efforts have been worthwhile. We are very happy to finally be able to implement the new sanitary facilities at our project school in Kabul.
The team from Visions were guests at the Liebeskind Party during the Berlin Fashion Week. Wana hosted the evening as a moderator where we had the opportunity to introduce our association and our work, while also raising donations. Beforehand, Wana designed a purse in cooperation with Liebeskind, which will be available in May. A total of €30 from each bag sold goes directly to our projects – meaning you can once again go shopping for a good cause!
Each year, our Ramadan members’ meetings take place on a Saturday evening, in order to break the fasting together afterwards. This year we also came together at the home of our board member Anne. With much love and effort, our members held a delightful evening together which rounded off the long and successful meeting before.
Starting from today, Greetzly enters the German stage! Choose your favorite stars and starlets and get your own personal video greeting for a donation. Among them are LARY, Maddie von Dariadaria, Lena Meyer-Landruth, Chefket, RebellComedy and Wana Limar. Your donation supports 100% of the work of Visions for Children e.V.! Drop by and give your friends, colleagues or yourself a personalized message while supporting Visions at the same time!
Right before Christmas we would like to warmly recommend the great illustrated book of our much-appreciated photographer and supporter Bureau Malte Metag. The book contains pictures of the village of Katosi, which Malte took during our project trip to Uganda in September. All proceeds go directly to Visions for Children e.V. and our school project in Uganda, the St. Bosco School in Katosi. You can find the link to the book here.
Wana and Hila were invited to the preview of the collection 'Made Auf Veddel' by the Hamburg designer Sibilla Pavenstedt. The aim of the collection is to combine the traditional handicraft of Hamburg women, learned in their home countries, together with international design. All purses are locally handmade. Hila was on site to help Visions for Children e.V. to raise awareness for the association.
The information evening about the trip of our four vision members to the school building project in Katosi/Uganda turned out to be a great success. Numerous guests listened to the travel reports of our members with great interest. As guest of honor Luisa Natiwi, native Ugandan, author and founder of Mata Mata – Zebracrossing e.V., gave us exciting insight into the school system and the current situation in Uganda.
As in previous years, we went together with the children of a Hamburg refugee shelter to bake cookies on the fairy tale ships! The kids, parents and, of course, the Visions team had a lot of fun baking Christmas cookies. Everyone kneaded, cut out, decorated and enjoyed a lot of snacking and laughing.
We have initiated the campaign "Schools support schools". If you are a teacher, pupil or parent, this campaign will be perfect for you! You can help us with donation runs, bazaars or with your own ideas to support students in Uganda and Afghanistan. Feel free to contact us via Facebook or firstname.lastname@example.org to find out how you as a school can help!
We are happy to celebrate that Visions for Children e.V. has existed for 10 years now! To mark the occasion, Hila, the chairwoman of Visions, has written a letter in which she emphasizes how far-reaching the work of the association has already been, thanks to the energy and conviction of all those involved: “I believe that this conviction, love for the cause and trust in us has enabled us to make it this far. In the past 10 years, we have managed to build seven schools in Afghanistan, Sri Lanka and Uganda in addition to our emergency aid projects. By doing so, we have been able to reach about 17,000 people with our help! And all of this is completely on a voluntary basis and without any financial support from the state or a major donor. This is something I am very proud of! These numbers are not intended to illustrate our success, but rather to show what a small group of young people have achieved in their spare time.”
Worldwide around 258 million children do not attend school. Around 262 million children cannot read, write and calculate properly despite attending primary school (Global Education Monitoring Report, UNESCO, 2020).
It is our vision to create a world in which every child can read and write.
Since 2006, Visions for Children e.V. has been committed to ensuring that every child is given the opportunity to obtain a basic education with which they can acquire basic skills. We particularly build on and contribute to the fourth sustainability goal of the United Nations’ Agenda 2030 – namely to ensure an equitable and high-quality education. We believe schools to be anchor points that give children the chance of a self-determined future by means of capacity building within the entire region.
We concentrate in particular on volatile regions in unstable economic and political conditions. In these regions, we establish sustainable learning conditions for children by rebuilding and equipping schools to foster high-quality teaching. By working exclusively with local partners, we involve the target group directly on-site. In this way, the small core team of Visions for Children e.V., together with the community, provides the basis for sustained social and economic development for local project partners and donors.
We consider our many years of experience in educational projects to be our core competence. Over the years, we have added further components to school building projects in order to create the necessary framework for a high-quality teaching and learning environment. In this way, we are pursuing a holistic approach that includes infrastructure as well as capacity-building measures for our target groups. The expansion of schools, implementation of training courses for teachers and students and improvement of school facilities, are complemented by covering the school community’s basic needs in terms of sanitation, nutrition and accommodation.
We all share the strong belief that equal opportunity makes the world a better place. And we are aware that this requires active commitment. This is only possible if we act independently of political, religious and economic interests. That also means that we reject financial support from those whose actions prevent children and adolescents from having a self-determined life. With our commitment, we wish to give the world something back by taking proactive steps. We consider ourselves doers: courageous and socially-minded people committed to making a long-term difference on site. Instead of operating with locked up bureaucratic structures, we rely on creating networks and flat hierarchies within our association. We strive for familial interaction – with our partners and among ourselves. For us, variety and diversity are not catchwords, but lived and loved realities. That is why we aim for local cooperation with our partners on site.
A deep understanding of the countries’ conditions, as well as the respect and an exchange of knowledge, are the basic principles of our work in our project countries – this is the only way we can efficiently realize our projects with long-term success. Similarly, we are aware of the trust that our supporters and donors have in us throughout our everyday association work. We thus document our work as transparently as possible. Due to our association’s unbureaucratic structure, we are able to react quickly so that even relatively short-term projects can be realized.
Visions for Children e.V.’s core team consists of volunteers and employed members that hold management positions. All of them work transparently within a young and multicultural team. Each member brings different professional competencies to the team, enabling a more efficient and successful pursuit of our organization’s vision. For projects abroad, there is always a member of the organization on site to ensure the proper execution and supervision of the project. In addition to active participants, several hundred supporting members contribute financially to the organization and provide their expertise and/or time if they wish.
The four board members represent the organization during their two-year term of office. Re-election is possible. Since April 2021, the board has consisted of (from left): Hila Limar, Svenja Wienböker, Saskia Haun and Süleyman Günyar.
The four members of the advisory board advise and review the activities of the honorary board. The current members are (from left): Nina Ludolphi, Nemo Kasztelan, Nielab Schahrochie and Alexander Kopf.
In order to realize our projects to the best of our ability and in a timely manner, appropriate structures are indispensable. The following chart illustrates our operations, which are mainly divided into four departments: Programs, Fundraising, PR and Administration. In practice, there are far more points of intersection between teams involved that allow us to exchange information regularly and efficiently.
The right to education is a human right. It was proclaimed in the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948 and represents a central goal of the UN Agenda 2030. Education is essential for the chance at a better life. In times of conflict, poverty and inequality, however, many children are denied this chance. With its projects, Visions for Children e.V. would like to make lasting improvements to school infrastructures and thus tie in with the fourth sustainability goal of the Agenda 2030 – the commitment to inclusive, equal and high-quality education.
Education prevents exploitation, fosters self-responsibility and thus forms the basis for economic and social progress. Especially in the world’s crisis regions, education is not a given. Factors such as war, child labor, early childhood marriages, excessive school fees and inadequate school infrastructure prevent children from attending school. According to United Nations studies, 258 million children worldwide were not going to school at the end of 2019 (World Education Report, UNESCO, 2020).
But even where access to education is possible, serious challenges remain. According to the UNESCO World Education Report (2020), approximately 58% of pupils worldwide do not achieve the minimum level of proficiency in languages and mathematics despite attending school. As a result of this inadequate basic education, 750 million adults worldwide can neither read nor write – two thirds of them are women and 102 million are young people between 15 and 24 years of age (UNESCO Commission press release, 6 September 2018). It is therefore particularly important to optimize the quality of existing educational facilities rather than to simply provide access to them.
This often extremely low quality of education has many causes. The main reasons include hygienic deficiencies, poorly qualified teachers and an insufficient infrastructure in school buildings. Not only school furniture, learning and teaching materials are in short supply – the lack of an adequate number of classrooms forces pupils to squeeze into completely overcrowded rooms unsuitable for an optimal learning environment.
Teachers often lack sufficient pedagogical skills and qualifications, resulting in significant limitations in the learning development of many children. Lessons are often very rigid with content that is not up to date. The lack of infrastructure in most regions forces many children to walk a long way to school, thus exposing themselves to all kinds of dangers. At school, they are often not provided with lunch or other provisions. For already undernourished children, this results in poor educational performance.
Moreover, the lack of sanitary facilities poses a major problem – especially for girls: Inadequate access to toilets and hygiene products leads to a massive impairment for schoolgirls during their menstrual period. Such factors also increase the rate of absence of many girls from class.
According to United Nations estimates, access to basic education could help about 171 million people worldwide to escape poverty through the expansion of educational institutions, simply by learning basic reading skills. Attending school could reduce poverty by 12% and increase income by 10% in as little as one year (Inclusion: Guidelines for Education Policy, German Commission for UNESCO, 2014).
Through education, children broaden their horizons, they become more self-confident, more solidary and learn to lead a self-determined life. They act and think on a long-term basis and internalize the awareness necessary to bring their own society forward.
Education creates numerous opportunities for the population in affected areas:
Promoting jobs and growth
Protection against child marriage and child labour
Minimization of the child mortality rate
Containment of population growth
Reducing the inequality for women
In this way, high-quality education contributes to the unity and strengthening of civil society. Improvement in education is directly correlated to an improvement in political understanding. It creates a growing sense of responsibility in the fight against corruption and for increasing demands for human rights – including women’s rights, for instance.
“Education is the first step to independence, to master one’s life and to provide for oneself and one’s family. That is why I want to inspire hope in children with my commitment.”
“Education teaches us means and ways to take control of our lives. It makes us independent and shows us how much we all depend on each other and how important mutual help is.”
“I think this is a great project with lots and lots of heart. It is about your own roots and about implementing something in the places where you know that something is needed.”
“I believe that in smaller organizations, people work with more heart. To be honest, I can’t think of any excuse not to donate money. As an overprivileged, lucky fellow, I think it would be presumptuous not to give anything back.”
“I prefer small associations that I trust. I immediately think: they surely don’t spend half of their donations on administration, as is the case with the big ones. Positive prejudice, in other words.”
“Without education I wouldn’t be where I am now. I am socially active without even thinking about it too much. I now know the people from Visions for Children e.V. personally, and I think that the money is in good hands with them.”
Our ambassadors are public figures who share our vision and values. With their media presence and social influence, they are able to draw a lot of attention towards our work. Every ‘like’ increases our reach and spreads our message throughout the world – thus, motivating each individual to participate. In the end, your commitment becomes one of the cornerstones of our work. Click here to get to know our ambassadors!