Deeply moved by the plight of the people in the refugee camps of Ethiopia, Karlheinz Bohm founded the "Menschen für Menschen" aid organisation in Germany on November 13 1981, and has worked with the organisation in an honorary capacity ever since, spending several months a year living in the most primitive conditions in Ethiopia and using the rest of the year for media events and lectures to draw public attention to his foundation's activities.
"My motivation is the word anger," explains Bohm; "anger at the unjust and inhuman discrepancy between rich and poor." He is helped by his fourth wife, Almaz, an Ethiopian who manages the aid organisation that has been transformed into a foundation. Around Euro 220 million has so far been raised by the organisation.
A large number of long-term projects are being pursued in seven regions of Ethiopia, such as the construction of wells and ecological agriculture, training and education programmes, the construction of schools – the 100th school was opened in February 2005 – and the development of the health system. To date, three hospitals have been built, and most recently Bohm has been campaigning against female circumcision.