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In an interview with: 10 questions to Matze from EBM International

We have known EBM INTERNATIONAL and Matthias, alias Matze, for over three decades. Because of our personal connection, we went to Cameroon in Sub-Saharan Africa in 1982 as missionaries for service in the mission and church. That was a life experience that laid the foundation for our current engagement with PEARLS OF AFRICA and the long-term, deep connection with the EBM. Back in Germany, we look back on several valuable years of cooperation with EBM INTERNATIONAL in the form of a cooperation in which the proceeds from our sales in Baptist churches flowed as donations into EBM projects. Corona has also shifted our collaboration from offline to online: EBM members can now purchase our paper products online and do good three times, for EBM, for PEARLS OF AFRICA and for themselves.

"In an interview with" Matze we talk about EBM, projects that are close to our hearts and how Corona is changing us all.


1. Who are you? Describe yourself in three sentences.

Matzo: As already written, most of them call me Matze and not Matthias. I think that's a good thing. A “young charter aunt” once baptized me like this as a child and it stayed that way. I am husband and father of two children, I enjoy jogging and I like music, good wine and books with inspiring content.

 Matthias Dichristin EBM International Pearls of AfricaMatthias Dichristin with EBM International in Peru (© Bettina Frank)


2. How did you come to EBM INTERNATIONAL?

Matzo: In 2005 my wife read in the prayer requests on the website of EBM INTERNATIONAL at the time that someone was wanted for HIV and AIDS work in South Africa. We wanted to reorient ourselves together and actually knew pretty quickly that this would be the new path. It was indeed a calling, and in parts it still is. Reconciliation work and commitment to the marginalized is important to us.


Mitthias Dichristin EBM International mit Kollegen
  Matthias Dichristin with EBM International in Peru (© Bettina Frank)
Matthias Dichristin EBM International mit Kollege
  Matthias Dichristin with EBM International in Peru (© Bettina Frank)


3. What excites you about PEARLS OF AFRICA?

Matzo: To be honest: I am particularly enthusiastic about Ulla and Dieter. I think it's impressive that they started it and pulled it off and made it big for so long. The two could "only" take care of themselves. That would be ok too. And the jewelry inspires me: I already knew it from people from projects in South Africa who live with HIV and AIDS and do this creative work with paper. But the quality of the pieces from the Emmanuel Group are simply a really different and high quality product. And here, too, all brochures certainly have their share.


4. What do EBM International and PEARLS OF AFRICA have in common?

Matzo: I would say: history, respect and friendship. Broochs know from their time as a missionary, like many of us here, that everything that glitters is never gold when we work together internationally and in a multicultural way. If you manage to look each other in the eye and show respect, you have gained a lot. I think that's what we all stand for together.


5. What is particularly important to you about a collaboration like ours?

Matzo: Many buzzwords have already been mentioned: “Beauty” is important here. The jewelry puts a smile on people's faces. That connects them with EBM INTERNATIONAL and God's mission. Finally our faith is not dusty and in need of explanation. That's wonderful.


6. Which piece of jewelery (product) is your absolute favorite?

Matzo: I'm very nostalgic about that and take the "long reggae chain". Such a chain was the first product that I held in my hands. And I liked the fact that (probably more) a woman can put it around her neck several times. Today I like the “Miriam Makeba paper bracelet” the most. Cool that they're named after this South African icon of freedom.


Reggeakette Pearls of Africa
 Long reggae chain
Papierarmreif Miriam Makeba
 Papierarmreif Miriam Makeba


7. Which 3 of your projects are most important to you?

Matzo: I am very pleased that our social centers will continue to benefit from the cooperation. We have a lot of projects for children at risk, but the three social centers in Brazil are something special. In Diadema, Ijui and Cotia, hundreds of children and their families are cared for and have the chance to gain good prospects for their lives and to escape problems "off the street".


Kinderprojekt EBM Lateinamerika Pearls of Africa


Kinderprojekt EBM Pearls of Africa


EBM Kinderprojekt Pearls of Africa


Essen und Geschenke aus dem SZ EBM


8. Now butter for the fish: How many donations did our collaboration bring together and in which of your projects did it flow?

Matzo: With almost 400 orders, over 60,000 euros were donated to EBM INTERNATIONAL. We have supported projects in Africa where women are promoted. For example the Maison Dorcas in the Central African Republic. Little is known in Germany about the country east of Cameroon. But it has been one of the poorest countries in the world for decades. In the Maison Dorcas project, up to 135 women are being trained as tailors at two locations. With our help we get some scholarships, we have already bought sewing machines for training and ensure that Anne Moussa, a highly qualified woman from the country, can be employed and retained as a project manager. Retaining skilled workers is one of the core challenges in order to provide sustainable help.


9. What did you take with you from 2020 until now, the corona year?

Matzo: It is my great resolve to be gracious to others and to myself. Unfortunately, I don't always succeed, but I think it's so important. Have mercy on my children who are at home instead of going to school - with their teachers who are having a hard time. It's good to talk about people in politics who are also allowed to make mistakes. Endure disagreements. And I wish each other more compassion: I can hardly imagine anything worse than losing someone without being able to hug him or her again. In all honesty: I find it difficult to wrest anything positive from this pandemic. I don't even like the digitization that comes with it.


10. What would you like to give the readers?

Matzo: Be merciful as your Heavenly Father is merciful. This annual motto sums up a lot. For me: God is a good father for EVERYONE. Especially for those who didn't have one themselves. And he's basically merciful. This is a good basis for a relationship.


At this point, a big thank you for your time and answers to our questions, dear Matze.

If you now want to actively support EBM International and donate to the wonderful children's projects in Latin America, then simply enter the code EBM in your delivery address when placing your order and you have already actively donated 25% of the purchase price of your order!

Go to the shop here.

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