Proper education, and if necessary a new laptop or bagpack, clean teeth and a full stomach. That’s what primary school head mistress Anna Vreugdenhil takes care off, because not every pupil is certain of those commodities. Thanks to financial support by the Youth Education Foundation she can take even better care of ‘her’ children.
Warm hands are something which every single child should have during winter. But what happens if you’ve lost your mittens and your parents don’t have the money to buy new ones? When a sad pupil recently told this to Vreugdenhil, Anna tasked the school’s custodian to buy a new pair. She also has a cupboard full of gingercake and juice boxes, in case a pupil arrives without having had breakfast. And if a pupil needs a pencil case and pens, but there’s no money at home to buy them, they’ll still get one. It’s been like this for years at De Regenboog primary school (The Rainbow) in Zoetermeer, Vreugdenhil’s school. She knows this because she’s already worked here for ten years. Since two years she’s been the head mistress of a school located in a suburb with a lot of families thaunder the poverty line, and where children often don’t have the carefree life growing up as you’d wish. Especially those kids her heart goes out to. “I love it to, together with my team, offer more to children living in a poor area than just education.”
My children deserve more than education alone
De Regenboogschool in Zoetermeer
But it is frustrating. “You need good teachers, but you also need money. A school like ours does get extra funding, but it isn’t much. And this while you do need to use different means to make sure all children get equal chances at life. These children already start at a disadvantage, which is determined by the location of their bassinet.” Since her appointment as head mistress Vreugdenhil has done everything in her power to equal those chances, like applying for extra funding. And a google search found her the Youth Education Foundation, which has been supplying her school with extra funding since
“There’s poverty to be found throughout the country and schools everywhere need our help,” according to Hans Spekman, CEO of the Youth Education Foundation. “Ten years ago we supported 34 schools, but now it’s grown to 350 schools. And there are another 80 schools on a waiting list. The inequality in our country already was starting to get extreme, but the pandemic has made it worse. At the same time this inequality has been put under the magnifying glass; it has become more visible. All children are born eager to learn new things, but that eagerness will disappear fast if you have a difficult life due to whatever reasons. Therefore, huge amounts of manpower are needed to make sure this young talent – our future – doesn’t get lost.” That’s why Spekman is so happy with the ‘wonderful gift’ by the Lottery, made possible by the lottery participants. “Thanks to that gift of 588.000 euros (approx. 600.000 usd) we can support 30 schools for another two years.” Vreugdenhil, too, is thankful to have been able to support her children’s needs via the Youth Education Foundation. “I did become emotional when I first met and spoke with Hans about how the foundation could help us. Not just because of the funding, but also because I felt I’m not the only one on this mission.”