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Newsletter November 2010






10 years Kosovo Letter from Gulu, Uganda Summer Camp at Heidenhof

About us

The Foundation Children for Tomorrow is a non-profit foundation with the purpose of supporting children and families who have become victims of war, persecution and organized violence. The Foundation grew from longstanding relations between Stefanie Graf and the doctors in the Outpatient Clinic for Refugee Children and their Families at the University of Hamburg Medical Center, and was initiated after talks with representatives of the WHO and UNICEF. Vorstand

Stefanie Graf Chairwoman

Prof. Joerg Fischer Att. Vice Chairman

Prof. Dr. med. Jörg F. Debatin

Assistant to the Board Stephanie Hermes Medical Director Dr. med. Hubertus Adam, MD Board of Trustees Joachim Schiebold, Chairman Dr. med. Joachim Walter, Vice-Chairman Dr. Manuela Mohn-Dühlmeyer Advisory Board Bundespräsident a. D. Dr. Richard v. Weizsäcker Dr. Jürgen Lüthje, Universitätspräsident Hamburg Dr. Custodia Mandlhate, WHO Representative for Mental Health, Southern Africa Sabine Christiansen Krista Sager, MdB Dr. Rolf Hunck

introducing … Birgit Kahle: Dedicated CfT Volunteer “Supporting Children for Tomorrow makes me very happy. Helping with the website content and supporting the editing of the newsletter are elements that form a vital basis for the success of the organizations efforts, thanks to the dedicated Children for Tomorrow team. ”

To communicate is to take action. This is the motto Birgit Kahle has pursued for over ten years of collaboration with clients in marketing and communication. From conventional press work to the conception and set-up of websites to technical advertising texts – the aspects of successful communication are diverse and numerous. Since 2005, she has been volunteering for Children for Tomorrow.

This is motivation enough for her to continue to communicate - and to take action. For Children for Tomorrow, but also for all those interested in her work.

„Employing the potential of professional communication not only for companies and agencies, but also for charitable organizations means a lot to me”, says the linguist and economist, who works for many international clients.

Birgit Kahle

Find out more under

Chronicle Children for Tomorrow 1998






Foundation establishment, opening of Outpatient Clinic in Hamburg

Project South Africa

Project Kosovo

Art Therapy Studio, Hamburg

Project Eritrea


November 2010 Children for Tomorrow TODAY

Project Uganda

Dear Readers, The time has finally come: as of October 12th, construction on our new charity headquarters has finally begun! Next year, we will be able to move into our new home on the University Clinic grounds. The outpatient clinic, administration, an academy and a training institute will all work under the same roof, and we are very much looking forward to reaching this milestone in our charity’s history. Of course we are eager to share with you the joy of seeing our new house slowly taking shape, and a photo diary on our website www. is being constantly updated to show you each new step completed on the construction site!

About us


The disaster of war, which still casts a heavy shadow in Kosovo, is harshly present in Uganda, and so many children still suffer so acutely that help is necessary in every home. The war in Uganda has been, at least officially, over for four years. But the „evil spirit”, the Ugandans’ term for the psychological damage resulting from years of war, still permeates so many aspects of everyday life. It seems to know no enemies, at least not yet. We know that our Outpatient Clinic in Gulu is a beginning, but also that there is a long way ahead. This is why we want to expand our project in Uganda as quickly as possible: our Wish List for 2010 prioritizes the needs of the children in the surrounding villages of Gulu, whom we aim to help banish the evil spirit with psychotherapeutic outreach services.

Grafik: Alho Systembau GmbH This year, we are also celebrating a centennial birthday: the Kosovo project „Trauma and Reconciliation” is now 10 years old. I remem­­ber all too vividly our first trip to Gjakova, the devastation and desperation of the people there, particularly the children. It has been ten years since the war ended, but its impact is still very visible in the ruins of so many homes that cannot be repaired while funds and material are still lacking. Prejudice, hatred and violence still obstruct the way to a peaceful multiethnic society, and there is still a great need for reconciliation work to heal the deep wounds inflicted during the war.

I send out my heartfelt thanks to all friends and supporters, and wish them a peaceful Christmas celebration and a healthy new year in 2011!

Stefanie Graf Chairwoman

November 2010 Children for Tomorrow TODAY


News from the projects 4

Kosovo Happy Birthday, Kosovo! The project „Trauma and Reconciliation“ is 10 years old Birgit Möller, Project Managerin Kosovo CfT Kosovo – The Beginnings On our first trip to Kosovo in 1999, we drove at a crawl through a country riddled with destruction. Avoiding the deep bomb craters in the road demanded extreme care due to the many landmines. Tanks and soldiers were everywhere, watching the streets and villages. After several hours, passing through deserted and devastated villages, we finally reached our destination: the town of Gjakova. This was where the new CfT project was to be established.

We had long talks with organizations, doctors and families. It quickly became obvious how deep the wounds resulting from years of oppression and persecution ran. So many families were missing fathers or older male siblings. So many children told about how they had been forced to witness how those they were close to were killed and their houses being destroyed.

November 2010 Children for Tomorrow TODAY

These images haunted the children and they suffered from flashbacks, nightmares, bedwetting or separation anxiety. They watched their overwhelmed mothers, who suffered so severely from the loss of their husbands that they were hardly able to meet their children’s needs for security and loving care. Many children were alone with their feelings of desperation, sorrow and anger, or held these in in order to spare their mother additional stress. Some children said that they no longer wanted to go home after school because their mothers cried all day long. Because there were no trained child and adolescent psychiatrists or psychotherapists at the time in Kosovo, we started an expansive psychotherapeutic service. Dr. Hanna Wintsch, an experienced child and adolescent psychotherapist from Switzerland, opened the project headquarters in October 2000 with her team of educators, and began to help many families, in single, sibling or family therapy sessions, to begin to overcome their traumatic memories. Problems with the infrastructure posed great challenges for our staff in the first years. Frequently, there was only water and electricity for hours at a time. In winter, temperatures fell to minus twenty degrees Celsius, so that therapy sessions were often held in winter coats and by candlelight. Many mothers were unable to bring their children to therapy, so the team set up a shuttle service to enable continual support and lighten the burden the families were already carrying.

March 1999 Ten-year-old Armend is forced to watch his father, three uncles and four cousins being beaten with clubs, then witness the house they are trapped in set on fire and burn before his eyes. While fleeing to Albania, Armend, his mother and his brothers and sisters suffer from hunger, thirst and exhaustion, and he is repeatedly separated from his family by the Serb militia. Mid-November 2000 Armend comes to the therapy project with his mother and younger brother. He is withdrawn, hardly says a word, and when he does speak, only with great reluctance. He avoids eye contact and is very anxious, slides around on his chair and keeps almost falling off of it. Despite normal intelligence, his school performance is very poor and he shows no motivation, lacks concentration and skips school frequently. At home, he is aggressive towards his siblings, throws and purposely destroys things the family needs. He wets the bed every night, is repeatedly waked by nightmares and has lost ten kilograms since the beginning of the war. He does not listen to anything his mother tries to tell him and they often fight.

His weekly therapy sessions begin with trying to build up a feeling of trust. Armend hardly speaks and does not even want to draw. He feels most at ease when playing ball. When he realizes that he is respected and liked just the way he is and that he is not being pressured to do anything he doesn’t want, he manages to take some first steps toward trusting someone again. Only very slowly is he able to begin to speak about his terrible experiences. The safety of the therapy relationship enables him to express the anger, aggression and sorrow he has inside. Late January 2001 After many sessions alone with his therapist, intensive talks with his mother and sessions with the siblings, Armend is doing much better. There is no more bedwetting, the nightmares are less frequent, his school performance is markedly improved and he visits classes regularly. The situation at home is more peaceful, conflicts with his mother and siblings are much less often. The physical symptoms resulting from psychological stress are almost completely gone and he seems much more balanced.

CfT Kosovo – Today Although the physical reconstruction of Kosovo has made great progress in the past years, the young nation still has a long road to travel until the different ethnic groups will be able to live together peacefully. In the children and young adults we work with, the memories of past atrocities and pain are still very present, as well as the experienced threat that “the others” pose. Until today, it is extremely difficult or nearly impossible to speak about the past in Kosovo society. This is why our project staff set up spaces where children and young people are supported in trying to think around prejudices and are given the opportunity to mourn the loss and destruction they experienced. This is an absolute necessity if a renewed outbreak of ethnic hatred is to be prevented. This process has only just begun, and the road to recovery is long.

November 2010 Children for Tomorrow TODAY

News from the projects

10 year old Armend – an example



Letter from Gulu, Uganda Dear Friends and Supporters of Children for Tomorrow Due to this understanding of trauma, it is very difficult for former child soldiers with psychological problems to reintegrate into society. People with mental disorders are socially shunned. In order to make it easier for children and parents to understand their symptoms, we connect Western disease classifications with Ugandan concepts of mental illhealth. This is a long and at times difficult process, because it This is a war many children fight on their own. Up to now, there also involves educating the police force, social workers and was hardly any child mental health care in Uganda. Since June teachers about the sources and symptoms of mental health 2009, CfT Uganda has been providing psychotherapeutic supproblems. We do this both by talking with them, and in port for children and young people in Gulu. I am a psychiatrist more formal seminars. and my colleague Benjamin Alipanga is a clinical psychologist. We are both from Northern Uganda. We have set up two childIn addition to treating children, it is a further important goal friendly rooms in the psychiatric department of Gulu Regional of ours to educate people in Uganda about mental health Hospital with toys and therapy material, where we provide problems. It is important that these are treated as illnesses, psychotherapeutic support for children and young people up to and not as evil magic. We hope that, with your support, we 21 years old. will be able to further advance the acceptance of people with psychological problems in Ugandan society. This means When a family seeks our help, we first gather all members in reaching out and educating people beyond the clinic fences. our playroom, and simply let the children explore and try out For this reason, we have written a wish list in the name of the toys. While the parents describe their children’s problems, the children who live in the surrounding villages and are I observe the children while they play – with particular attention not able to make the trip to our clinic on their own. We to how they interact with other children, their reactions, feelook forward to your help and thank you for taking the time lings, looks and of course how they interact with their parents. to think about our work. When we first started, we used the Western understanding of Yours trauma and a western checklist of symptoms. But this soon proved to be ineffective – we were simply talking about different things, we were unable to translate the western understanding of trauma for Ugandan families, because we have a completely different understanding of the source of symptoms and problems in our culture.

Officially, the war in Uganda has been over since 2006 – but only officially. The 2500 children who were kidnapped and recruited as child soldiers or sex slaves during the war are still battling against enemies of their own; each and every day they struggle with their traumatic memories.

Most traumatized people in Uganda don’t believe that the war and their experiences during that time are the source of their problems, but that they are possessed by evil spirits. They believe that the evil spirit is to blame for their headaches, nightmares and depression. They‘re able to name and describe traumatic events in their lives, but they do not connect these with their state of health. Who does the evil spirit haunt? The evil spirit chooses those who carry the burden of guilt; someone who has murdered or witnessed someone being killed. It also haunts those who fail to follow certain rituals after they have killed someone. And how does one fight the evil spirit? In order to get rid of it, an animal must be sacrificed. Afterwards, the person who was possessed stamps out the fire used to sacrifice the animal until the embers go out. When this ritual is completed, most people believe, the evil spirit will go away.


November 2010 Children for Tomorrow TODAY

Dr. James Okello Local projectleader Uganda

and James Okello


Benjamin Alipanga

Our rooms in the psychiatric unit of Gulu Regional Hospital

Therapy session

Children in the refugee cap

November 2010 Children for Tomorrow TODAY


Friends and Supporters

longines, rexona und mrs. sporty „Center Court for Kids” in New York Stefanie Graf gives tennis tips in Central Park During her visit to New York in early September, Stefanie Graf was able to spend several hours playing tennis and passing on tips to 50 girls from the New York district. Sponsored by Longines, the City Parks Foundation and USTA Eastern, talented 8-14-year old girls from the area gathered to show their skills on the court. “It’s wonderful that Longines is giving these young, talented girls the chance to be here” said Graf.“The City Parks Foundation enables so many children to be part of activities that promote their development – these are goals similar to those of Children for Tomorrow.” It was a big surprise for everyone when Billy Jean King turned up to visit with Stefanie Graf and chat with the girls about tennis. “I am so pleased to support Stefanie’s charity work”, said King.

Game, set and match to Stefanie Graf Stefanie Graf and Rexona win for Children for Tomorrow

„Dropping kilos for charity“ Mrs. Sporty donation drive The sport club chain Mrs. Sporty and its co-founder Stefanie Graf are putting on a special offer: a four-week training program, in which Mrs. Sporty will donate one Euro for each kilo participants lose. During the four weeks, participants will be doing the 30-minute Mrs. Sporty circuit training twice a week and adjust their diet under professional supervision. We thank Mrs. Sporty for their support and wish all those participating in the drive lots of fun, and success!


November 2010 Children for Tomorrow TODAY

The Rexona Charity Tennis Tournament at the Unilever Building in Hamburg showed that the deodorant brand and Stefanie Graf are still a great match. Pre-nominated teams met with Stefanie Graf on a small-scale court to raise donations, point for point and match for match, for the charity. Not only Unilever employees, but members of the press also had the chance to prove their tennis skills against Stefanie Graf. The victors of the charity tournament were the Unilever team surrounding Stefanie Graf, which was thrilled to have raised over 25,000 Euros in donations for Children for Tomorrow.

Common diagnoses in CfT projects by frequency 25%





10% 8,8 5%

8 6 4,6








Mild mental Schizophrenia Other behavioral or emo retardation tional disorder beginning Hyperkinetic disorder during childhood Other anxiety disorder Emotional disorder Acute stress reaction in childhood Combined disorder of social Depressive episode Reoccurring depressive disorder behavior and emotion Adaption disorder Post traumatic Other behavioral disorder stress disorder

November 2010 Children for Tomorrow TODAY

CfT in numbers

Teil 3: Cft Diagnoses


Photo Diary

Outpatient Clinic Hamburg „I feel happy here in Soltau…” Summer camp at Villa Heidenhof with the School Program in May 2010 Sarah Barth, Project Manager

…with these words, 15-year old W. summarizes the 5-day trip to Heidenhof. Like most of the teenagers in the project, W. has only been in Germany for a few months and is suffering from the psychological strain of his memories of Afghanistan, and fleeing to Germany.

Along with self-initiated activities like soccer, cooking, canoeing, swimming and dancing, the afternoons were spent in group work with educational and artistic activities.

These young people rarely have the chance to leave the city due to financial and immigration law restrictions. The summer camp gives them the opportunity to get to know others with similar problems and talk about the problems they experience, as well as to recuperate from the strain of the past months. In quiet moments, often outdoors in the idyllic surroundings, they talk to staff about their problems… or to just relax and recharge.

The 16 refugees come mainly from Afghanistan, but also from Chechnya and Georgia, and are between 9 and 16 years old. All of them have been in Germany for under 12 months.


November 2010 Children for Tomorrow TODAY

Photo Diary

The appreciation of multicultural identity plays an important role. The teenagers show dances from their different cultures and cook meals for the whole group from their home countries.

A special experience for many was a walk taken with the Lamas and Alpacas kept at Heidenhof, who were led by the teenagers. Winning these shy animals’ trust and affection surely created a positive, valuable memory for all. Forming new friendships and a new feeling of togetherness was something all agreed was a most important accomplishment during the camp. Especially for the young refugees who came to Germany on their own and live without families, finding new friends was particularly important.

We would like to express our deep thanks to Mrs. Szlovak, who made this wonderful, enriching time at her beautiful estate possible. We also thank the Grießstraße School, which carried the travel costs and gave the students extra holidays so they could come along.

November 2010 Children for Tomorrow TODAY


At a glance

Hamburg Kosovo



Cape Town



Please feel free to contact Children for Tomorrow we look forward to hearing from you.

Become a supporter of Children for Tomorrow!

Stiftung „Children for Tomorrow” Universitätsklinikum Hamburg-Eppendorf Martinistraße 52, Gebäude O 35 20246 Hamburg Telefon: +49 (0)40 7410-59269 Telefax: +49 (0)40 7410-57275 E-Mail: Internet:

Your donation is an active contribution to giving children the chance of a healthy development. Account holder: Children for Tomorrow Account number: 070 7000 Bank code: 200 700 00 Deutsche Bank, Hamburg For a donation receipt, please fill in your complete address in block letters on your bank transfer form. For donations over 200,- Euros, a receipt will be sent automatically.

We thank all of our supporters and sponsors, as well as our volunteers for their continuous dedication.

Imprint Editors: Children for Tomorrow, Foundation under civil law, Martinistraße 52, Haus O35, 20246 Hamburg Telephone: +49 (0)40 7410-59269, Overall responsibility: Joerg Fischer, Att., Cologne Editorial management: Stephanie Hermes Contributions: Sarah Barth, Birgit Kahle [], Dr. Fionna Klasen, Dr. Birgit Möller, Dr. James Okello Photo credits: Dr. Birgit Möller (S. 1, 4, 5), UKE/Prof. Debatin (S. 2), Joerg Fischer (S. 2, 3), Birgit Kahle (S. 2), Alho Systembau GmbH (S. 3), Dr. Fionna Klasen (S. 7, 10, 11), Sarah Barth (S. 10/11), Rexona (S. 8), Longines (S. 8), Mrs. Sporty (S. 8) Design: Design Labor, Britta Stahl, Mannheim [] Production: Karl Bergmann & Sohn KG [] Circulation: 1.000, subject to alteration


November 2010 Children for Tomorrow TODAY

TODAY - english edition 02.2010  

The foundation established by Stefanie Graf initiates and heads individual projects which benefit a healthy development of children and adol...

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