Good deeds, here and there
2018-12-13 | By ACCESS Editorial Team
The tradition of committing good deeds is long and strong in the Netherlands. The Dutch give all year round, to organisations such as the Dutch Cancer Society, the Red Cross Netherlands, UNICEF, World Wildlife Fund, and Kerk in Actie (Church in Action), to name but a few. Charitable organisations rose by more than 30% in 2016.
It’s an ever-growing environment of giving and caring for the community, be it local or global. And the founders of such goededoelen (charities) are not only Dutch. Internationals, too, have been inspired to share the love, to help those in need in their respective home countries, and to support refugees arriving here. ACCESS features just four such organisations; their efforts go towards improving life here, or as far as Jordan, Egypt, Lebanon, Nigeria and beyond. They haven’t gone unnoticed.
Unity In Diversity
Miracle Uche, from Nigeria, has been in the Netherlands for three and half years. It did not take her long to see a way to help refugees and the broader community here. What she saw happening, during the process of integrating refugees with Dutch society, was that the focus was often on connecting the refugees with only the local Dutch community. She wanted to broaden the impact of making connections. Uche, along with other internationals, founded Unity in Diversity (UID). “We had a unique approach in mind, one that encouraged a connection between the Dutch, refugees and all other internationals. We wanted to develop projects together with the refugees, as a team, learning from one another, and eventually uniting beautifully in our diversity, and creating a platform for cultural exchange.”
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Among their regular events are Games from Around the World, the aim of which is to encourage different cultural groups to get to know each other and realise their commonalities by playing sports and sharing meals together. By having refugee children play alongside Dutch and international children, they hope to encourage integration while also helping them maintain their own cultural identity.
The international character of UID continues to grow as volunteers come from all continents of the world. The varied composition of UID’s team is sure to expand, with their My University Cares Too project, connecting educators, diversity officers, admissions officers, student groups and associations, cultural groups, language schools, and non-profits. Their efforts assist and promote the inclusion of refugee students, and inspire other campuses to do the same. uidnl.org and muctoo.org.
Contributions, financial: NL22 INGB 0007 7241 22
Contributions, of time or resources: via websites
Chamber of Commerce Registration: 68050615
Basma Al-Rawi, an Iraqi resident in The Hague, had her own story of fleeing war when her family had to escape Iraq in 1991. The experience marked her. When there was need—for others—to flee another war many years later, she jumped into action. From The Hague, she organised countless collections among her friends and network and helped translate for newly-arriving refugees who were frightened and overwhelmed.
Al-Rawi continued to support refugees as they slowly settled into their new homes. She was not ignorant though of what was happening in the refugee camps of Jordan, Egypt and Lebanon, housing thousands waiting to know their own future. In 2016, she ran an overwhelmingly successful donation drive for cash, clothes and household items, partnering with a local agency to distribute the collection in Jordan.
From this experience of helping concretely and specifically, together with a group of Dutch and inter- national friends in The Hague, the Create Bridges Foundation was born. Its mission: to support those who have/are suffering because of war or disaster in Jordan, Lebanon, and Egypt. Funding for her campaigns is organised on a case-by-case basis, monthly contributions, or one-off larger contributions. The support is very specific, such as a much- needed eye operation or tuition fees for a student.
Al-Rawi uses her knowledge, networks, experience and passion to create bridges—small, personal, concrete ones—between those in need and those moved to help. She keeps all donors informed of who has been helped and how.
Contributions: NL38 INGB 0008 4696 67
Chamber of Commerce Registration: 6898708
Beauty In Every Life
Beauty In Every Life (BIEL) is a foundation set up in the Netherlands, as well as Nigeria, with the intention of “preventing human trafficking from Nigeria.” It was the brainchild of Ebere Akadiri, herself
Nigerian, living in the Netherlands, with vast entre- preneurial experience here and in her home country, and passionate about women’s empowerment. It was a reaction to a news item last year. It illustrated what was happening to young women, trafficked from their home country, when they arrived at their destination—destitute, in slavery, their dignity stripped, their rights violated.
It grabbed her heart and her entrepreneurial spirit. Akadiri’s vision is to raise awareness here—in the countries of destination—but more importantly to provide the women, families, communities in her home country with the skills and opportunities which could prevent them from seeing “leaving Nigeria at all costs” as a solution. So when the plight of her fellow countrywomen struck her, so did the purpose for a publication to benefit those in need. The resulting cookbook is now one of the fundraising elements of BIEL (read more in the Food article, page 18). Book sales contribute to the Keep Dignity Alive campaign, empowering Nigerian women to believe in themselves, with the tools to do so.
Chamber of Commerce Registration: 66355214
M-Capital is a unique initiative, an international non-governmental organisation (INGO), encouraging cross-sectoral co-operation to solve an immediate migration issue. The Hague Process on Refugees and Migration (THP) is a Hague-based NGO, established to raise awareness and dialogue on the subject of migration. From their work and experience, they piloted a programme to tackle the challenges of businesses filling skills gaps. Cities are faced with the challenge of effectively integrating migrants; migrants, in turn, need to gain employment, contribute to local economies, and participate actively in their new communities. The result was the social enterprise, M-Capital.
While all the stakeholders have a common goal, they operate in a parallel manner within their own silos, with differing timelines and confusing terminology. For example, governmental entities are familiar with terms such refugees, migrants and statushouders (roughly translated, “status holders” with temporary residence permits). Meanwhile, businesses are often unaware of the differences between these terms and others, such as expats or kennismigranten (highly-skilled workers). This lack of awareness hinders companies’ ability to tap into the pool of skills that refugees possess, while the government overlooks the business sector as a support resource. M-Capital closes the gaps and creates matches, for the greater good.
Chamber of Commerce Registration: 27275238