We finally managed it - we moved into our new office! Now we are located in a little town in Germany: Annweiler-Gräfenhausen. Never heard of it before? Don’t worry, it is a really small town - about 580 inhabitants only - in the south-western part of Germany. The town is located in a small valley, overlooked by the old castle of Trifels. So yes, it is a little town, but rich in history - and so is our new office.
The building URIDU is now located in is called Altes Schulhaus (= old school building) Gräfenhausen. For more than 110 years now, this building has always been dedicated to the spreading of knowledge and education. Built in 1907 as an elementary school, during more than 70 years young girls and boys were taught to read and write here. In the 80s, the Altes Schulhaus was transformed into a book publishing building. And now it will serve as our URIDU headquarter from which we want to bring vital knowledge about health, family and work topics to millions of rural women in developing countries.
When you enter our new office, one of the first things you’ll notice is the (original) wooden floor, made of oak timber - deal boards of about 6 meters’ length. Rough and uneven, full of knotholes. Worn off by the feet of hundreds, probably thousands of young children entering this house over the decades, eager to learn and soak up the necessary skills to build a good future for themselves. When we meet people from town and they hear that we are the new owners of the Altes Schulhaus, first thing they use to tell us is: „I’ve been to this school, do you know?“ or „Oh, my mother/grandmother went to this school many years ago!“ And it always comes with a big smile. Everybody here just loves this wonderful building.
So 110 years ago, girls who were lucky to be born here in Annweiler-Gräfenhausen already had the opportunity to go to school, to learn, to know what is important to know. To have a good life. And still today, in so many other parts of our world, girls do not have this opportunity, nor had their mothers or grandmothers.
Looking at this old, worn-off and frayed wooden floor just reminds us every day why we are doing what we are doing. So we’re rolling up our sleeves …