“Happiness is the only thing that doubles when you share it.”
Albert Schweitzer (Evangelical theologian, organist, philosopher and physician)
Our motto for 2020 is ‘Tales of Happiness’. We’ve had lots and lots of such tales to tell since we were founded in 1999. Many of them were the tales of children who received an education thanks to our Children’s Centers, opening doors of opportunity to a better chance in life.
We have pulled together a whole host of tales of happiness – from our partners, from children at our Children’s Centers, from people working at PATRIZIA, and from our friends and supporters. Read a selection of their tales here.
Our new foundation magazine is also dedicated to this Tales of Happiness topic. Accordingly, we gave it a simple title: HAPPINESS. Read the magazine here
Happiness – does it have the same meaning everywhere? Sort of … it’s expressed in different ways, depending on the language or culture. Read more about the definition of happiness here.
Our video of our projects in Rwanda shows Brigitte and Pierre talking about their angle on happiness. It’s certainly worth watching!
At one point, the global lockdown caused by the coronavirus pandemic appeared to test our aim of giving children access to an education. Schools have had to shut their doors everywhere. Despite this, we want our tales of happiness to set a signal. Especially in times of difficulty, it’s important to stay focused on the good things in life and what makes us happy!
As a result, we set up a fund going by the name of Coronavirus Fund Education Healthcare. Its aim is to provide immediate aid to our Children’s Centers. By adding your own donation to the fund, you can support our facilities that are experiencing serious problems as a result of the crisis. So we can hopefully tell more tales of happiness.
My tale of happiness
Vincent* from Buyamba (Uganda)
Vincent* is a pupil at PATRIZIA School St. Francis in Buyamba. He is driven by one big ambition: he wants to be a doctor one day.
Nima from Nepal
Although 11-year-old Nima (right) takes 45 minutes to walk to school every morning, she always looks forward to sitting in the classroom – a privilege that’s not to be taken for granted in Nepal.
Rachel from Buyamba (Uganda)
Rachel is pupil in the seventh grade at PATRIZIA School Buyamba. It is not a given that the 14-year-old can go to school, because her parents died when she was very young. Since then she and her three sisters have been living with her uncle, who looks after the girls and also enables them to attend school. Rachel is also lucky that there is an affordable school in her community, which she can easily reach on foot. The PATRIZIA Primary School is five kilometers away from Rachel’s home. She is happy that it is so close. She not only gets access to education there, but also two meals a day. And she is integrated into the social network of the school community and does not have to work at the market or in the household like other girls her age.
Founder of the PATRIZIA Children Foundation
When I look back, I feel really proud of the things we’ve achieved through the foundation over the last 21 years.
Joseph from Alego (Kenya)
Support and a feeling of belonging – just two of the things Joseph benefits from at the PATRIZIA Vocational Training Center in Alego (Kenya). But things were not always that way for the 18-year-old.
Padmavathi from Porayar (India)
To give her daughter the opportunity of receiving a proper education, Padmavathi – who turned 16 in 2020 – was sent by her mother to PATRIZIA Child Care Porayar. The home only takes in girls with a proven need of urgent support. Padmavathi was fully aware that this was a golden opportunity to put poverty behind her. Her father had left the family at an early age and her mother tried to collect and sell garbage, but could not feed her and her brother. Currently, the girl is in 11th grade, is diligent and particularly enjoys learning English.
Padmavathi is happy that she has friends in the girls’ home with whom she can play and share her life. Here she has a sheltered roof over her head, regular meals and the chance to use her knowledge to grow into a self-confident and independent woman.
Ole from Hamburg
Ole was identified as having Type 1 diabetes at the age of four when he was admitted to a children’s hospital. He and his family were first put in touch with the SeeYou centre at PATRIZIA Aftercare Hamburg to support their needs.
Princess from Harare (Zimbabwe)
Through the PATRIZIA School Harare, the entire family of five-year-old Princess has found hope for a better future.
Pierre and Brigitte describe their journey to happiness
Everyone is dealt a different fortune in life. For Pierre and Brigitte from Rwanda, being given the chance to receive an education became an important ingredient of happiness.
Happiness – what does happiness mean to different cultures?
Every country or culture in the world has different ways of interpreting happiness. There’s no magic formula that works for everyone, which is probably just as well, because everyone has very different personal priorities when it comes to finding happiness. For example, it is scientifically proven that it makes you happy to help others. In some countries they have words that express different aspects of happiness – such as Germany, where the PATRIZIA Children Foundation comes from. In German, the closest word to happiness is Glück, which not only describes the road to happiness for some – fortune, like when everything just goes well. It also means fortune as in ‘happiness’ – from a fulfilling life. So how are these concepts of happiness or fortune expressed in other countries?
Happiness – a matter of constitutional importance
In the Kingdom of Bhutan, happiness is laid down as the most important goal of the state. It is even captured in the constitution. The term they use for this in Bhutan, now famous internationally, is Gross National Happiness (GNH). It’s a lovely way of expressing the fact that quality of life is more all-encompassing than the usual measure – gross domestic product. The underlying idea is simple. If a government can’t make its people happy, then there’s no reason to have a government.
The King of Bhutan even stated this in the 1970s:
“Gross National Happiness is more important than Gross Domestic Product.”
Fortune brought to you by a grasshopper
In some countries, grasshoppers are a symbol of friendship and home. In China they also believe grasshoppers offer harmony, and as in a number of other cultures they’re considered a symbol of good fortune. Fortune is reflected in the things that protect you.
This belief stems from the wakeful and attentive nature of grasshoppers. When they hear a noise, they stop chirping and make others aware of what they’ve heard. They’re like a good guard dog, except they’re not likely to bite anyone!
“The secret of happiness lies not in possession, but in giving. He who makes others happy, becomes happy.”
(Andre Gide, French author and Nobel Prize winner)