Do you remember our last blog post about the 4th Innovation Prize Dithmarschen 2016? We mentioned briefly the Reetdachdeckerei Ohm that builds thatched roofs which are typical for Northern Germany. Reetdachdeckerei Ohm won the special prize as they have a very innovative and social project. Today we would like to take the opportunity to tell you about Hans-Hermann Ohm and his idea in a more extended way.
Hans-Hermann Ohm, head of the Reetdachdeckerei in Norddeich as well as chief-master of the roofing guild Schleswig-Holstein was contacted by Luisa Natiwi in 2015. The native Ugandan has been living in Hamburg for decades now. She brought Ohm to the idea to teach young Ugandans in Norddeich how to build thatched roofs in order to apply and pass on their learned skills in Uganda. The idea is to establish a better alternative to the usual tin roofs as they aren’t suitable for the Ugandan climate.
In March 2016 Hans-Hermann Ohm and his wife Rita flew to Moroto, a small town in north-eastern Uganda. There they met future trainee Bosco Awas and two other young Ugandan men. Originally it was planned that all three men can start an apprenticeship in Germany. Unfortunately only Bosco had the possibility to acquire basic knowledge of the German language in Moroto.
On the property of Luisa’s family Ohm built a storehouse together with some helpful villagers. Previously he had bought 1000 bundles of reed in the region which should be stored there because in the future Ohm plans to fly to Uganda frequently in order to build test roofs.
Since September of this year Bosco Awas has been living with the married couple Ohm. The next three years he will be trained in Norddeich and shall finish his apprenticeship with a final examination in order to return to Moroto. In his first training year he will receive 600 € gross. Unfortunately there are no additional subsidies for the project until now which is why Ohm has to keep on digging deep into his pocket. The prize money is Ohm’s first revenue for the project. He and his wife completely fund the project on their own which means that they pay the costs for flights to Uganda, for Bosco Awas’ living (German lessons and boarding school fees in Lübeck) as well as for additional costs of material in Uganda. Hats off to their commitment!
When we heard of this exceptional project at the award ceremony for the first time, we were totally impressed by and convinced of it at once! We see similarities between Ohm’s project and my Boo. Hopefully new financial opportunities will arise soon so that it will be easier to realize all the ideas. It is so great that there is another company that sets a good example and demonstrates how to strengthen the economy in African countries on site!
We wish the Ohm family and their project all the best and continued success!