The charitable foundation and association 'Viracocha Salzgitter' would like to introduce itself:

On the following pages we want to give you an overview about our aid program 'Viracocha'. Thank you very much for taking some time to get informed.

Twenty years ago as a young man Steffen Gosewisch from Salzgitter toured as a backpacker around Colombia. He was impressed by the hostipality and helpfullness of the Colombian people. At the same time he was shaken by the living circumstances of them. Especially the children suffered from poverty and hunger.

Steffen Gosewisch decided to stay in Colombia in oder to help these people.

He founded the 'Aid Project Viracocha' which he has been leading and dedicating all his power and time since twenty years. His wife Mrs. Lina who supports him actively lives in Colombia too.

Today Viracocha is a registered and non-profit foundation. On a finca which belongs to the foundation about 120 children of poor class of population get a warm, high quality meal daily. The food is mainly grown on this finca.

In addition Viracocha gives the children the opporturity of attending different public schools and institutions. The necesary school materials and school books  are also financed by Viracocha.

Different courses of schoolhelp and therapeutic programs are led by social psychologist and special treatment for disabled children are organised around the founder Steffen Gosewisch by his team.

The public charity 'Viracocha Salzgitter' (the registered association) was founded by seven members (presently 17 members) in 2002 in order to support Steffen and Lina with their work.

The association 'Viracocha Salzgitter e.V. (shortend Viras) organizes fund raising to support current and future projects of VIRACOCHA in Colombia futhermore they mediate adoption to sponsor a child of the program 'Food and Education'. All members work on a voluntary basis and defray costs for the administration. Every donated Euro is actually invested in the aid organization. 

All members who travel to Colombia pay all costs by themselves and even when Steffen Gosewisch, who leads the association in San Augstin travels to Germeny to visit his family he pays all costs by himself.

Any costs of info-flyer, calander ect. that may arise are settled by printing companies and agencies or come from commodity contributions.

Here you can learn about the sitiuation of the children in Colombia and why we founded the association 'Viracocha'.

The social situation of Colombia (excerpt of Wikipedia)

Abour 50 million people live in Colombia, 25.8 % of the citizens live under a minium standard which is determined by the government. According to the data of the world bank in 2006 more than 49 % of them lived in poverty. Thereof 7 % are regarded as absolutely poor, with a daily income of under one US-Dollar. Especially the population with low and middle incomes were pressed in precarious employment situations and their incomes have dropped. Only a third of the employees are social- and health insured.

The existing armed confilct in Colombia and the following consequences are heating up the problem. There are a lot of futitives increasing the figures of unemployment in the village San Agustin over a bearable social dimension. Slums, begging children on the street and increased drug abuser and more crimes are commited.

Because of low education and the extreme social circumstances a lot of families are busy to cope with providing for their basic needs. Even children have to contribute by working. Usually doing housework or as smallest paid helper in farming.

The vicious circle is set in motion: children cannot attend school because they have to help their parents with badly paid work. Lack of education or no education at all are the reasons for not getting a chance of a better paid job, so they cannot escape their poverty. The result of malnutrition and hard physical work is that the children have very little chances to break out of the vicious circle on their own.

Viracocha: Our project nourishment and education

The aim of the project Viracocha is:

To enable children and teenager of the poorest class of population in San Augustin, Columbia to attend school and to offer them a daily full-value lunch menu.

Furthermore various courses and leisure-time activities for education  and therapy will be offered. Children and teenager who are in extremely social or financial emergency situations are supported. These are among other things:

  1. under- or malnutrition
  2. homelessness / extreme housing conditions
  3. family neglection
  4. family or extra-familiar violence
  5. sexual abuse
  6. disabled children
  7. families expelled by armed conflicts from their country
  8. single mothers/single fathers with a number of children in an emergency situation.

The local situation:

In fact in Columbia school attendance is compulsory, but many poor families are not able to pay the costs for teaching materials and the prescribed school uniforms.

The state school meals only cover about 7 month a year, is of poor or bad quality and a lot of families cannot effort this either.

Since the year 2002 the Viracocha foundation offers with their program „food and education“ support to the families worst hit of these problems.

The program „Food and Education“ of the Viracocha foundation, is the only rescue project in San Agustin for the children and teenagers, the bereaved of this situation.

Columbia is a very poor country. As the foundation is moreover political neutral, doesn't support any party and is not party political instrumentalized, they are not supported in any way by the Columbian State. The project is to 100 % financed by donations and voluntary workers in Germany on the spot are also important pillars of the project.

Description of the project:

After extensive examination of the situation of the applicant and after an internal selection interview with all involved families the children are admitted to the program „Food and Education“.

The parents oblige hereby to carry out a working day at the finca owned by the foundation every four weeks. At the finca the need of fruit and vegetable is planted according to a planting plan which was especially worked out for this matter.

So the parents grow the food, which contributes to the nutrition of their children and learn in doing so the various methods of organic farming.

The children and teenager get support by the foundation for the school enrollment or school registration at various public schools of San Agustin and are provided with needed teaching material.

On every school day a well-balanced lunch is offered, prepared among other things with high-quality fruit and vegetable from the foundation's own organic farming.

In 2004 we rented a house (Casa Viracocha) which was renovated and rebuilt (kitchen, dining rooms, office, library, studies and a large inner-yard) with the help of our supported children's parents. Here the children get a warm meal every day and a lot of leisure activities are performed.

The offering starts from a youth club with different games over to help with homework, art handicraft courses, theatre workshops, painting courses, music salon, library up to therapeutic programs with social psychologists and special care for disabled children.

In 2005 we could purchase a desolate finca (farm). It was also put in a very good condition with help of the parents and produces by this time almost the complete need of fruit and vegetable for the kitchen. Here comes up an agricultural ecological educational center with the aim to be able to offer a theoretical training for our target group based on the local reality in the fields of organic farming, in environmental protection and handwork.

The „Casa Viracocha“ and our „Finca Viracocha“ are the ideal places for our offerings, because the children (and parents) find there an oasis of peace within their hard cicumstances of  life.

The offerings are based on the principles of „help for self help“ (capacity building) and serve as a general improvement of life quality, especially in the fields of nutrition, health, conflict management, job training and life- and housing condition improvement.

Viracocha: What we want to achieve

By the full-value nutrition the children are given the possibility to develop physical healthy and age-appropriate so that they will be able to concentrate during the lessons at school.

 By providing of the basic requirements for school attendance the families are enabled to let their children to partake the lessons.

By the offering of leisure activities the children and teenagers are shown the possibilities to get to know the several engagement alternatives and to develop individual skills.

By assistance to the program it is provided a feeling of belonging to the parents and they have also the possibility to get specialized knowledge and to participate in job trainings (education programs).

Viracocha: Please support us!

In the past few years we have achieved a lot and helped hundreds of children. In order to help also in the future, we need your help. Please donate! Every penny counts! And we asure you: every Euro is for the benefit of the children.

donation account:

Bank: Nord-LB Salzgitter

IBAN: DE73 2505 0000 0003 1341 11

account owner: Viracocha Salzgitter e. V.

Purpose: donation Viracocha