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Closed 01/05/2023
The Giraffe Project

Jürgen Koenemann Memorial Fund

Jürgen, our energetic, generous, and dedicated friend and co-director passed away on the 25th of March. How better to celebrate him than to fund raise to continue the work in Kenya that he so passionately believed in. Love you Jürgen.
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Closed on 01/05/2023
RCN 1149540

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Jürgen and his wife, Gay, are members of the American Protestant Church in Bonn (APC) and first connected with The Giraffe Project after Richard and Denise visited the church close to 15 years ago.

Jürgen first visited the projects in Kenya at Easter 2012 as part of a Youth service trip, along with other youthfully minded older members of APC. Once there he threw himself into the visits and, with his outgoing and generous personality, soon made friends with Kenyan school students and adults alike: whether in the slums or on the compound of the Conference Centre compound where we stayed.

His trip included a visit to Mercilin Clinic in Kibera founded by a local nurse, Nurse Elisabeth. The clinic was the only place anywhere in Kibera slum offering childbirth support to local women and providing medical support to the children sponsored by Giraffe.

Jürgen typically kept these people and their needs in his heart. He and Gay have sponsored school children through Giraffe ever since.

Jürgen also raised money and obtained a grant through his employer, Deutsche Telekom, to upgrade the facilities at Mercilin Clinic, which continues to serve the poor community around it. The clinic still provides Giraffe students with medical checks every year so that we can keep up with their health needs. The consequences of these checks are life changing in some cases.

In March 2017 Jürgen became a Trustee of The Giraffe Project charity with an emphasis on strategy and communicating the work we do. He revisited Kenya the same month and has been a constant and passionate advocate for the children we support ever since. His insightful comments kept us on our toes as a Board and gave me, as Treasurer, significant food for thought! An invaluable and much appreciated colleague from March 2017 all the way to March 2023.

His fund-raising activities included climbing Kilimanjaro with his daughter Nora, and in recent years he organised the team for the Brussels 20km run (Link), which he ran several times. Although he was already ill with cancer, he was there again in May 2022 to welcome the runners and represent the charity he loved.

Apart from offering this opportunity to support the charity that Jürgen held so dear, we also hope you will share comments and remembrances of him through these pages. Please share your thoughts here and send any pictures you would like to add to the gallery to me at ri.baines@giraffeproject.org

We will pass these to Gay and the family after the Memorial Service on the 15th April.

A tribute to Jürgen will also appear on The Giraffe Project website in the coming days.

A valued partner and friend, we will miss him greatly, Richard Baines.

To view the picture Gallery click on the icon:

to the right of Jürgen's photo above

Thanks to Birgit Gray for the new 2012 photos

Comments coming in so far. Thanks so much:

Cathy M. Markland, USA:

Jürgen, such a sweet man with a captivating and a beautiful smile.

Japheth Mutinda, The Giraffe Project CEO Kenya and Co-Director of Green Pastures School, Kibera, writes:

Sad news indeed. He recently sent greetings to me........ It feels like yesterday when he last visited Kenya and was very enthusiastic in Giraffe Project activities in Kenya. He was the tallest among the Giraffe visiting team then and his sense of humour was always conspicuous. The pupils at Green Pastures were highly enthused over his prowess in operating computers with his hands. He created great desire to learn computers among the pupils. We visited several homes of the Giraffe sponsored pupils in Kibera slums and his sense of humour always radiated laughter to the family members we visited. To describe Jurgen in few words is an uphill task but he was simply a very good man and his big heart to serve humanity was demonstrable in his involvement in charitable activities. He has certainly left indelible marks in the lives of many people. May God rest his soul in peace.

From Nurse Elizabeth Wambua, Founder and director of Mercilin Clinic Kibera sent this just after hearing of Jürgen's passing:

I'm truly saddened about the demise of a dear friend with a loving heart. It was only yesterday I thought about him and wished him well. ......He was not only concerned with us at the clinic but also fundraised and visited whenever he was around. ......May God grant him eternal rest. Much appreciation, Elizabeth.

About the charity

The Giraffe Project

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RCN 1149540
The Giraffe Project supports some of the neediest children in the slums of Nairobi, Kenya. By providing financial, managerial and educational support to a select group of partner schools "Giraffe Helps Children Walk Tall into their Future".

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