In 1992, Evi Güldenstern, the project founder, traveled to Ethiopia for the first time to work in an orphanage for three months and gain first-hand experience in social and development aid in one of the poorest countries in the world.
In 1999, she founded House of Mercy Ethiopia (HOME) in Addis Ababa along with the Hausig family. This project supported children and young people without families on their way to independence.
As of 2001, more mentally handicapped children were cared for and mothers with malnourished children received guidance in nutrition, education, family planning and food aid.
In 2007, Evi Güldenstern handed over the project to her successor Julia Wiedemann. But after her return to Germany, Ethiopia remained on her heart. In particular, she continued to be moved by the plight of single mothers.
In October 2011, a new project was started in Addis Ababa in collaboration with Jesus Gemeinde Dresden. On a small rented property, Evi founded an integrative kindergarten for 50 children of single mothers as well as a nutrition and advice program for mothers with malnourished children.
In December 2014, Begegnung e.V. was registered as an independent organization in Ethiopia. At the same time, we started searching for a new, larger property. After months of searching, we were able to move the project to a 3000 m² (32000 ft²) large property in Ferensay, north Addis Abebas, in March 2015.
In 2019, Evi Güldenstern decided to hand over the management of the project and return to Germany. The association began the search for a successor as a result.
The Bode family, Samuel & Melissa, joined the team at the beginning of 2019 and were therefore involved in the search for a successor. They, too, were considering the idea of taking over the management in Addis. In the middle of the year, they had their first child and were busy with that new stage of life. But they couldn't shake off the thought of taking over the NGO and so they decided to take concrete steps at the end of September. They visited Evi in November 2019 for 3 weeks (the first time for Melissa, Samuel had already helped the project in 2015) and then decided to take it over. Samuel is a missionary child himself and grew up in Italy. Melissa is an occupational therapist that is an unknown profession in Ethiopia. They have been part of Jesus Gemeinde Dresden for 5 years and were sent out in December 2019.
At the beginning of 2020, Samuel was instated as the new country director by the German board. The Bode family has been living in Addis Abeba close to the project since 02.01.2020.