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Amb. Natividad meets Charlotte Gödicke, German teacher who transformed Sagay, Negros Occidental Print E-Mail
Written by Philippine Embassy Webmaster   
Friday, 16 November 2012


Ambassador Natividad meets Charlotte Gödicke, German teacher who transformed Sagay, Negros Occidental


(Left to Right): Dr. Anne-Sophie Endres from the Evangelical Geriatric Center; Milagros Antonio-Kropp, Cultural Attaché, Charlotte Gödicke, Ambassador Maria Cleofe R. Natividad
BERLIN – As part of the Embassy’s efforts to forge and sustain cooperation with German citizens who champion Philippine causes, Ambassador Maria Cleofe R. Natividad met with Charlotte Gödicke, a German teacher whose selfless dedication helped transform the community of Sagay in Negros Occidental. Ms Gödicke was part of a team working under the Sagay-Osterholz Partnership, a three-decade cooperation programme between the Sagaynons and the people of Osterholz District, Germany.


The Partnership, and the commitment of Ms. Gödicke in the years to follow, changed the course of Sagay’s history. The former Mayor of Sagay, now Congressman Alfredo G. Marańon, Jr., himself notes that his singular contribution to the development of the community is the successful negotiations of the sponsorship contract with the District of Osterholz in West Germany.


It was in 1982 when Charlotte Gödicke, in her capacity as photographer and English teacher, traveled to Sagay, Negros Occidental, with Karl Deneke, then town councilor of Osterholz-Scharmbeck, near Bremen, northern Germany. In the early 1980s, the economy of Sagay, primarily based on revenues from sugar production, had collapsed. Prices of sugar had dropped and the sugar plantations could no longer sustain the region.


This was the condition when Ms. Gödicke arrived in Sagay for the first time. She was appalled by the widespread poverty. She immediately realized that it was not enough to donate money to the people of Sagay. Upon her return to Germany, she forged contacts with development organizations, educational institutions, church communities and youth unions to gather resources for Sagay. For 25 years, she worked to improve the health condition of children, organized water supply, taught how to administer the city, acquired medical assistance, and established schools for the community. For decades, she was able to gather a total of 1.5 million Deutsche Mark for the city of Sagay.


Today, Sagay is an emerging tourist destination with a 32,000 hectares marine reserve and a carbin reef with a 200 hectares marine sanctuary.


In 2004, Ms Gödicke’s work was recognized with a presidential award given to individuals for supporting specific sectors or communities in the Philippines.


Ambassador Natividad also met Dr. Anne-Sophie Endres, a former trainee in Sagay, who now a medical doctor, who expressed her interest to organize a medical mission to Sagay again in the near future. END


Last Updated ( Thursday, 29 November 2012 )