It all started in 1999. For months, Wolfgang Egger had been exchanging letters with Sister Barbara. On a number of occasions, he had sent her donations – desperately needed by the Missionary Benedictine Sisters of St Ottilien, who were work-ing in the Tanzanian village of Peramiho. Experienced nurses, the nuns have been working and caring for the sick in eastern Tanzania since 1901. In her letters, Sister Barbara asked for money to spend on basic necessities like mattresses. As head of the hospital, every day she saw how much the children in Peramiho lacked bare essentials. Egger’s interest was piqued. He wanted to know more about the work of the missionaries, offer help to the hospital and do something himself. He was fascinated by the passion and tireless efforts of the missionary nuns. He resolved to travel to Tanzania himself and see what conditions were like with his own eyes.
Using property expertise to build a future
Egger will never forget the things he experienced in Peramiho. Sick children who could not be cared for because there was nothing to help them with – nothing. Nothing like suitable facilities, and the children urgently needed medical help. Leprosy, tuberculosis, malaria, burns and malnutrition were all common in the hospital. Above all, they didn’t even have separate rooms to treat patients or keep medicines. After intensive discussion with Sister Barbara followed by talks with the PATRIZIA stakeholders at the time, Egger shifted into action.
The first steps of today’s PATRIZIA Children Foundation
The PATRIZIA CEO turned to his experience as an entrepreneur and his strong understanding of housing and property. He set his sights firmly on new charitable aims. With the support of PATRIZIA, in 1999 Egger founded what was then called the PATRIZIA KinderHouse Foundation. His first step was to finance the desperately needed paediatric ward for the St Joseph’s Hospital in Peramiho. A spacious, solid structure was built out of high-quality materials, setting new standards in the region and attracting a growing number of patients. Since the facility opened in 2002, not only have children received immediate medical assistance, but women in or after the 3rd month of pregnancy receive free medical examinations as well. One milestone achieved by the ward: between 2013 and 2016, the infant mortality rate almost halved.
20 years and 20 PATRIZIA Children Centers later
The children’s ward in Peramiho was the first project initiated by today’s PATRIZIA Children Foundation. As it marks its 20th anniversary in 2019, there are now 20 PATRIZIA Children Centers worldwide, offering a better life to thousands of children. The foundation’s hospitals, children’s homes and schools offer children care, affection and learning, all in a safe environment. This is the foundation’s way of giving children all over the world the same chance to enjoy a happy and healthy future. Alexander Busl, Managing Director, has been managing the business of the foundation for five years, more recently alongside Monique Felicetti, who joined the team as Managing Director in March 2019. For Busl, one thing is clear: “The story of the PATRIZIA Children Foundation needs to shared with a much louder voice. We want even more people to be
inspired by it, we want to build an even bigger network and we want even more people to join us on the journey. So among others, we will forge more contacts with PATRIZIA AG, leverage them in the longer term and allow the know-how of the company to flow even more effectively into our activities. Ultimately, we’d like 100% of donations to fuel 120% efficacy in each project. This is what keeps us going!” In essence, the foundation is pursuing a broadly similar goal to PATRIZIA. Both operate with foresight, both want to shape society in the long term and both do this by tapping into local expertise – in human and tangible terms. Wolfgang Egger: “We’re trying to make a difference, but not everything works overnight. So we try to think in terms of generations. We’re a family-owned business and we work with partners for many years and invest in the long term. It’s a bit like our core business at PATRIZIA with property investment: the work of the foundation is about invest-ing in social impact – for the children and the whole world.”