Special moments for children in need

Sharing a little of our happiness: This is the motto under which EPCOS is giving this year's Christmas donation to support the Sternstunden ("Special Moments") charity campaign to help needy children.

Last year, EPCOS donated 20,000 euros to help small farmers in India make use of renewable energy sources. This year, the company has opted to provide the same sum of money to support a respected charity that operates mainly in Germany. In collaboration with broadcaster Bayerischer Rundfunk, several sponsor banks and insurance companies are likewise committed to helping needy children in Bavaria, Germany and around the world. For the past 20 years, the Sternstunden campaign has promoted relief projects to sustainably improve living conditions for girls and boys who are sick, disabled or needy in other ways.

Everyday assistance for deaf and blind children

Facilities that genuinely meet the special needs of these children are one aspect of the work. One example is the "Institute for the Blind" foundation in Wuerzburg, where blind and deaf children like Kathleen are taught and looked after. The building is 30 years old and desperately needs to be renovated and brought into line with modern didactic standards. For example, small elevations in the handrail indicate that it is about to turn a corner. Similarly, different floor coverings are needed in some cases to mark the transition from one room to another. A lot must be done if the children are to learn to cope to the extent of their capabilities and to live their daily lives without fear. "The more the children are taught and encouraged, the more intensive their contact with their suroundings, and the more they can understand something of the world around them," explains Thomas Jansing, initiator and managing director of the Sternstunden charity.

A place of refuge for those who need intensive nursing care

Another project supports a house in Munich for children with chronic respiratory diseases and who require intensive nursing care. This facility helps children such as Fabian who suffer constant pain and breathing difficulties, who are dependent on medical equipment, and who therefore often cannot be cared for at home. They rarely experience a "normal life" with their families; and the absence of a safe, warm "nest" can lead to a number of physical symptoms: Children are often more vulnerable to infections, do not grow in accordance with their age, or do not gain weight at the normal rate. The home that is currently being planned will accommodate 18 children, from infants to elementary school children. The children live in groups and have a regular daily routine that seeks to approximate a normal family life. This helps them to gain confidence and experience what it is to have a home, a safe place of refuge.

Animals help the healing process

Forms of therapy involving animals can also help chronically ill and severely disabled children. Children grow in confidence and get a better feel for their own body when they interact with horses, ponies, alpacas, dogs and rabbits. Horseriding in particular brings moments of pure joy to these suffering children – key experiences that can stimulate fresh development. To further extend the range of therapeutic offerings, a new "Center for Animal-Assisted Therapy and Education" is now taking shape in Augsburg. The center will be run by the "Bunter Kreis" ("Colorful Circle") association, which also provides music and art therapy and experiential education.

For more information (in German only), please visit: www.sternstunden.de