Stunned by the insufficiency of Germany’s educational system being able to deliver to deprived children, Kaija took on the challenge to bring change. In 2007, while earning her Master’s degree in Public Policy at Hertie School of Governance, she developed a business plan to adapt the Teach For America model to meet German requirements. In her entrepreneurial spirit she eventually managed funding to establish the organization. For the first time in 2009, Teach First Deutschland fellows entered classrooms in low income areas to provide deprived youngsters better opportunities. Five years later, Kaija moved on to head the non-profit CHILDREN. With a national focus it is the organization’s mission to end child poverty. Children in immediate need are strengthened in terms of healthy nutrition and broadening the scope of their environment with educational programs. In parallel, CHILDREN funds and professionally supports youth volunteers and their child poverty related projects. It has been part of CHILDREN’s founding charter to facilitate societal participation of children and young adults to ensure sustainability within the non-profit sector and to facilitate social integration.
Kaija is on the board of several organizations aiming to improve the situation of underprivileged children and young adults. In 2011, she was honored as one of 100 future women. Kaija is a mother of two. She and her family live in Munich, Germany.