Deutschland: Marianne Grosspietsch

I am life, that wants to live amidst life that wants to live." Albert Schweizer

— Marianne Grosspietsch

In 1992, Marianne Grosspietsch founded Shanti Sewa Griha, a nursing facility for leprosy patients in Katmandu. Today, Marianne also gives shelter to the poor, the disabled, and the persecuted. More than 1200 persons receive medical care. There are kindergartens, schools, workshops, and agricultural production. Shanti is led by locals, two women and six men. Marianne is the inspiring force for everyone. She returns to Germany quite often to generate essential donations for the project. The extensive social integration of her patients is another main aspect of Marianne's work.

The scene: a very formal assembly in the ceremonial hall of the Congress of Nepal. Marianne Grosspietsch is to receive a prize for her social commitment. Such ceremonies are even more formal in Nepal than in the old days of English monarchy! Three speeches are given and there is a hint of incense. The German Ambassador walks up to the podium and states that there is a lot of praising going on. “I would like to tell you about a bad habit of the honorable . . .” he begins. – Silence, confusion. The Ambassador enjoys this moment – and continues: “She cannot say no to anybody!” And that is true. Marianne hardly ever manages to turn away a helpless person who makes it to Shanti and begs for shelter: An orphan is brought, a newborn who has been lying on the roadside for two days. On another day, Marianne Grosspietsch sees a young man inching along on his hands; polio turned his legs into scrawniest bones. She invites him to ride with her in her car. Three girls, maybe ten years old, had to serve as child slaves for wealthy people. They ran away and now ask for a hideout, but first of all need to be fed and cared for. There are cases like these every single day, and Shanti already seems to be bursting with help seekers. A small commission has to decide whether somebody can be accepted at Shanti or not. But every child, every woman, every old man can stay for a few days “on probation.” It is a system that works. Those accepted to stay can choose the work they want to do in the workshops. Everybody has a chance to feel needed and to earn a small living, however disabled they are. Inventing new products for the workshops is one of Marianne’s favorite occupations. But she likes it even better to care for children and the elderly.

Shanti Sewa Griha Shanti Leprahilfe Dortmund e.V