Christian Liebig Foundation

Giving children a future


13 years ago, Christian Liebig was killed in a missile strike in Baghdad. An editor for Focus, he was one of over 600 journalists reporting from the war in the company of the US army. He was the only German journalist to give his life while working in Iraq. Since then, Beatrice von Keyserlingk has honoured her partner’s memory by dedicating herself to education projects in Africa through the Christian Liebig Foundation.

“When you keep returning to the same country over so many years, you naturally accumulate a great many impressions and experiences. Without doubt, one of my fondest memories is the time I spent living with a teacher’s family at our secondary school, far away from the capital. Every evening we sat outside the house and cooked. That was usually my job. My host family found it much more interesting to watch and taste what I created from their ingredients. I also took the opportunity to spend more time with my godchild, Florence, and to get to know her and her family better. It helped me to recognise and understand their everyday needs and concerns. Knowing what people in the region actually need helps with my work for the foundation.

For me, our greatest achievement is the girls’ home we built on the grounds of the secondary school. It has space for 72 girls, although it actually houses more – cramped conditions are not a problem. This facility is hugely beneficial for the young women – it offers them privacy, sanitary facilities, enough to eat and it’s close to the school. They don’t have to travel a long and often dangerous route to school, are protected and can concentrate on studying, which will improve their prospects.

Since our work began, Malawi has been one of the world’s ten poorest countries. According to the World Bank, it has actually moved to the top of the list since the catastrophic flood of early 2015. Calling this a sad situation is an understatement, but it makes me even more determined to carry on the good work funded by our many donors.”

Beatrice von Keyserlingk, co-founder and chair of the Christian Liebig Foundation

Our achievements after 13 years:

  • 22 schools expanded/built
  • More than 21,000 children have a suitable place to study
  • 100 scholarships have allowed young school leavers to train in a profession – from teachers to mechanics
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The school’s 10th anniversary was marked with a big party – with teachers, parents, students, many government representatives and, of course, plenty of balloons

Photos: Affonso Gavinha, Florian Goberge, Wolf Heider-Sawall, Christine Olma, Annette Wucherer/Christian-Liebig-Stiftung e.V.

A German/Malawian friendship: Beatrice von Keyserlingk with her godchild, Florence, in autumn 2014

Kick-off project: In 2014, the Christian Liebig Foundation secondary school opened its doors to 400 children

The secondary school is constantly expanding, and has a laboratory, library and girls’ home

A safe place: The girls’ home is very popular and offers young women at the secondary school a place to live and learn

Tradition plays a huge role in Malawi: Opening ceremonies are wild, colourful and musical to ward off bad spirits

Celebrity support: RTL presenter Nazan Eckes collected donations in 2006

The foundation has also been active in the neighbouring country of Mozambique – here with Ilka Eßmüller, who once again accompanied the foundation in 2008 as part of the RTL charity marathon

German bread in Mozambique: A training bakery was set up in collaboration with the German charities Welthungerhilfe and “Brot gegen Not” (Bread against Misery)

Working in the countryside: Well-equipped teachers’ houses make Mpalapata primary school a particularly attractive place to work

Straw walls: Many children in Malawi are taught in such “schools” – as long as it doesn’t rain

Cheering their German guests: The children at Mthawira primary school now have a proper building in which to study

“Likuni Phala” porridge: Support from “Mary’s Meals” and donations provide a warm meal every day to children at several schools

Beyond school: The CLS also provides scholarships to help young people with vocational training

Bussing through Malawi: Everyone lends a hand when repairs are required, but there’s no stress here!

Travelling for experts: There’s no room for claustrophobia here

All aboard: Stoic calm is a Malawian trait

Let there be light: “Little Sun” solar lamps help out in an emergency

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