Verena Gerspach

I was born in Karlsruhe, Baden-Württemberg, the south-west German province, to a rather normal family. My older brother and I were privileged to have parents that taught us, through their own behaviour, to live a happy and fulfilled life. Most importantly we learned to treasure the value of a sound family.


I am a rather average woman, but, I have a vision. I trained to be a nurse after completing secondary education and have been working on a Surgical Intensive Care Unit at a large hospital in Karlsruhe as a registered nurse for several years now. I enjoy helping others – sometimes even saving a life.


How it all began...

In the year 2003 I married a man from Salinas de Guarand located at an altitude of 3550 m in the Andeans. We have had enjoyable, but also painful and difficult times together especially due to my husband’s cancer. Together we managed to survive and were able to travel to Ecuador in 2008 to my husband’s home town. It is impossible to capture in words the joy, hopes and dreams that escorted us on that trip. Knowing the importance of good medical care, it was also our desire to help others; those less fortunate to be in the care of good doctors or have medical insurance. We had our limits but wanted to give all that was possible within those limits.


Starting Christmas of 2003 we began helping in little ways. Keeping our eyes open for the pain and worries of the people of Salinas and surrounding areas, we became very conscious of the hardships in mastering everyday life – a few hours of their burdens would cause Europeans great despair.

We began by taking little steps – a few donations of clothes and guidance for self-help. We had many ideas but implementing them seemed so far away. We made a donation from our personal savings, brought clothes and donations from our family and friends and vitamins dependant on what kind of help was needed or which ailment needed curing. Once we even collected a donations of almost $ 2000 – a giant step and a great feeling!


As my husband and I travelled through the Andeans over a bumpy road in January 2010, we met two quite dirty boys walking a lama on a leash. I just had capture that moment so I jumped out of the car and took a few pictures. Actually it is a very typical picture for Ecuador. Those boys gave us the name for our initiative: Andenkinder (Children of the Andeans). As usual I had a few things in my bag for the children. The experience gave me happiness and the boys were delighted to see a tourist jump out of her car to offer some sweets and toys. Back at home the snapshot helped me develop my idea of forming an organization. I even had a specific picture in mind for a home page: the colour green as a symbol of hope and pictures of the children of the Andeans which I gathered over the years in Ecuador. The photo of the girl on our flyer originated there as well.


I am very thankful for my optimism, strength and endurance which helped me develop this organization. Lots of paperwork and organizational obstacles caused many sleepless nights but it was worth it - I am proud to have realized my dreams and plans through this organization.


I truly wish we can continue to be a ray of hope for the people of Salinas and surrounding areas and that our strength and passion to help others never dies. I need help in helping others though – and I call out to you, my friend, to lend us a hand. Together we can dry many tears, bring a smile to a sad face and improve the future for others.