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Blüm visited working children in Peru. (Source: Jürgen Schübelin/KNH)

The children of the world lose a great friend

Kindernothilfe mourns the death of Dr. Norbert Blüm

For almost 20 years, the former Minister of Labour was Chairman of the Foundation Board of Kindernothilfe. One focus of his commitment was the fight against exploitative child labour. Now Norbert Blüm died at the age of 84. "We are losing a great supporter who always had the cause of children at heart", says Katrin Weidemann, CEO of Kindernothilfe.

Stirring up people's hearts, always standing up for the weak with loud protest and quiet humour: for two decades, Norbert Blüm, as honorary Chairman of our Foundation Board, worked with great energy for the implementation of children's rights.

Norbert Blüm with Lilian and her fosterchild in India. (Source: Frank Rothe)
Norbert Blüm with his granddaugther Lilian and her fosterchild Tamil Mozhi in India
Norbert Blüm with working children in Peru. (Source: Jürgen Schübelin)
Norbert Blüm with working children in Peru

Since 2001 he has supported several fosterchildren over the years and has also given all four grandchildren a Kindernothilfe-sponsorship for a child as present. In 2008 he travelled to India with his then twelve-year-old granddaughter Lilian so that she could meet her godchild - an unforgettable experience for all involved. Further trips led him to Kindernothilfe projects in Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Peru. Across all language barriers, the children experienced him as someone who stands on their side with all his heart, suffers with them, fights with them for a better future.

Protest against exploitative child labour: Blüm with Action!Kidz in the zoo of Cologne. (Source: Ralf Krämer/KNH)
Protest against exploitative child labour: Norbert Blüm with Action!Kidz in the zoo of Cologne. (Source: Ralf Krämer/KNH)

Whenever we were looking for a comrade-in-arms for actions and campaigns in Germany, we always found Norbert Blüm to have an ear and willing to participate. His motivation: "Since we live on an island of prosperity, I don't want to sit quietly and do nothing." For our Advent calendar CD "Robinson's Christmas Journey" Blüm read stories from all over the world. On TV quiz shows he donated his winnings to our projects. One focus of his commitment to Kindernothilfe was the fight against exploitative child labour. As part of our Action! Kidz campaign against child labour, he accompanied a school class to the Cologne Zoo to protest against exploitative child labour and demand basic education for all. The fact that millions of children in this world have to work hard because of poverty, thereby risking their health, their future and often their lives, made him a vehement campaigner against this inhuman exploitation. "Kindernothilfe has the right concept", said Blüm. "I am convinced that the organization has set a proper working focus on basic education."

As a result of a sepsis last year, Norbert Blüm was paralyzed. However, his solidarity with the weak remained strong. In mid-April he wrote to us: "Do not cease in your efforts to rouse the hearts of the people. Humanity cannot remain as it is. Corona is a teaching tool for that." And he concluded his letter with the words: "Working for Kindernothilfe is a privilege of meaningful activity. In spirit, I’m marching along."

We have lost a great supporter in Norbert Blüm. "He was always with all his heart and soul at the side of the children of this world. We thank him with all our heart for his support," says Katrin Weidemann. "And I am certain that he is also 'marching along' in the Kingdom of God, in which he, as a devout Catholic, firmly believed, in thoughts at the side of the weak. In our thoughts we are with his wife and his whole family.”