Dear credo readers,
It’s very likely that you, the one who is reading this, are not that different from us. About 50% of all young people (15-25 years) in the Netherlands, work on a voluntary basis1. We, Kim Bischot, Jasmijn Klapwijk and Amber van der Kruk were asked to write something about MOVE. The organization that supported our voluntary projects.
MOVE started driven by curiosity about how children in the city were living. We wanted to get a chance to see the world through their eyes. And how much would this view differ from a student’s life? The project grew into teaching children how to can make a difference in their neighborhood and raise their confidence. Now, in 2016, MOVE started 168 projects in 7 Dutch cities with over a 1000 students and over 4000 pupils2.
Kim: I learned a lot in the committee and had a really good time! When I started I had no idea everything would move so fast. The committee was already existing, and the first lesson was already given. Even so, I did feel at home, the people were open and nice, and I did not feel like an outsider.
Our project was to bring some color into the neighborhood of Schiemond (Delfshaven-Rotterdam). The children saw only green and grey, and nothing else. After a lot of brainstorming the children made the decision to paint a tree bench (see picture below). It was so nice to see how proud they were about their own work. Everyone worked so hard and no one wanted to let the bench stay outside for the summer, scared that people would demolish it.
In this past few weeks I learned a lot about the way children in the poorer neighborhoods of Rotterdam are growing up. What are their dreams and fears and how they think problems can be solved. I also learned a lot about myself, how I can organize a project in a short period in time and how I can connect with children.
Jasmijn: From day 1 the kids attending the Arentschool were very interested in the MOVE-project. During the first lesson the kids and us got to know each other. We explained how MOVE works and what student life entails. Their enthusiasm certainly rubbed off on us.
After this it was time to think about a project to carry out. During the second lesson the kids interviewed the residents in the area and observed the district. Doing this, they met with the BONT foundation and they also learned that emanating positivity has a positive effect on people around you.
During the third and last lesson the kids started brainstorming about what would be a good plan to execute. They decided that they wanted to brighten up the district together with the BONT foundation. To do this, they painted (durable) nesting-boxes for birds and provided them with compliments for the residents in the area. These bird-boxes are now to be found and admired at Jaffahof. We, as MOVE committee members thought this project proved to be an instructive and enjoyable experience.
Amber: In April, four other Pedagogical Sciences students and I met the children from the elementary school “De Kubus” in Ijsselmonde. After an introduction with the enthusiastic 6th graders (groep 8), we explored the neighbourhood together, to see what they wanted to do for the people there. Soon the children realized they wanted to improve social interactions within the neighbourhood, and in particular social interactions between younger and older generations. That’s how the idea was born to organize a special day for elderly people of the neighbourhood. Prior to that day, we visited the Erasmus University, where we enjoyed a guided tour. The day took place at the 24th of July. The children played games and made music together with the elderly people. This project was a success to me, because the children and elderly people were incredibly enthusiastic and everybody had a lot of fun.
In conclusion MOVE really did something for us and the children. We would like to advice everyone to do some volunteering work. Not only for yourself, but also to make the world a slightly better place.
Have a nice summer everyone!
By Kim Bischot, Jasmijn Klapwijk and Amber van de Kruk
1 CBS – Wie doet vrijwilligerswerk?
2 MOVE – Over ons