For ten years, KidzBase has been providing additional services to children outside the home in North and Central Limburg. “We support products and services that are actually standard in a child’s life.”
We are all familiar with the concept of the third world. Well, we operate in the fourth world. Unfortunately, this world is invisible to many.
When Charlotte Francourt of Velden orientated herself to what the children’s world outside the home looks like, this statement from an employee of a care institution has been with her for a long time. “I made a deep impression,” she says.
In North and Central Limburg there are around 175 children who are losing the warmth and security of their families. They live in a family home or condominium, after being placed outside the home due to a turbulent home situation. Charlotte says the kids have been through a lot. For example, they are victims of abuse, drug dealers, domestic violence, or addiction problems from their parents. Children carry a heavy backpack with them. They suffer from attachment disorders, confidence problems, and distorted self-image. They feel lonely and unseen.”
“I’m so glad I got an electric bike’
Stephanie (19 years old) and Chantal (17 years old) are two sisters who have long memories of going back, living with Hilde van den Heuvel in America. She decided years ago that in her family, which has two children, there is still a place for children who cannot live at home due to circumstances.
When Stephanie was four and Chantal was two, they came to America from Vigil. “Mom and Dad couldn’t take care of us so well,” Stephanie says. But now they see their parents a lot and that’s nice. Now they have an additional sister: when one of Hilda’s children left the house, there was a place for Jennifer (10 years old).
It’s great in the family, but there is not always money to pay for everything that the growing girls need. Then Hilda can contact KidzBase. For example, the family already received Christmas packages, a day in Toverland and then every now and then shoes or clothes. “But now I’ve got an electric bike,” Stephanie rejoices. “I recently started working at NLW and after that I have to go to Horst or Venray. I can go there on my own now. And if I want, I can now bike with friends by myself.”
A piece of personalization from KidzBase. An electric bike is an exception there, but given Jessica’s case, a regular bike wasn’t an option. The family’s mother, Heald, says the bike is very important to Stephanie. “She has VCF with dystonia. This electric bike is truly a triumph for her independence.”
Chantal tells how happy she was with the drone she got with Sinterklaas via KidzBase. “Unfortunately, it is no longer working. But what a great thing.”
Chantal made a strong wish for KidzBase for the anniversary: that she would like to play the piano in the hospital hall. Stephanie would like to drive a 45-kilometer car for a day.
In order to be able to do something extra for these kids, Charlotte and her father, Martin Francourt, founded KidzBase ten years ago. Children removed from their homes cannot rely on their parents and depend almost entirely on government budgets. The organization was established in order to provide for all the basic needs of them, or to allow them to participate in activities. “We support them with products and services that are actually standard in a child’s life and that are essential to being able to participate in Dutch society,” says Charlotte. “Appropriate clothes, shoes, toiletries, a backpack to go to school, a bike, and swimming lessons.”
KidzBase collects funds, goods, and services. Homes or family businesses can enroll children. KidzBase help is badly needed, says Jessica McCuume, a KidzBase employee. “Children often have dark memories mostly. It is very necessary that the beautiful moments take their place. Almost all KidzBase children did not have their own stuff, they always depended on what they got. The fact that they can choose something for themselves they like does a lot of for their self-respect and self-confidence.
This year marks its tenth anniversary. Charlotte: “But we don’t feel like there’s anything to celebrate, because what you really want is to be superfluous. Unfortunately, we won’t be at the moment.”
“If I had to pay for those clothes myself… that wouldn’t really work.”
Soon he will be eighteen years old and then Chris will live on his own. Having lived at PGZ in Tungelroy for five years, he said he was ready for it. I live there in a group of ten or eleven guys. I’m really enjoying it, but I’m also looking forward to this next step.”
Chris can no longer live with his parents because conflicts in the new family situation ended in him after his parents’ divorce became too high. He is now pursuing MBO training at Weert for a job in retail. “I am now in my freshman year. I would love to be a sales assistant, preferably in a supermarket. I hope this works out.”
Last Saturday, like a hundred other guys, he was allowed a day to shop with his supervisor via KidzBase. Chris was allowed to choose clothes worth two hundred euros and shoes worth 75 euros in the center of Venlo. Was looking forward to it.
“I’m so grateful to them for that. If I had to pay for it all by myself… I wouldn’t really be able to. I think it’s very important to dress well, but with my size it is a bit of a challenge sometimes. But it worked!”
It did not constitute the entire budget. “What’s left, we give back, I won’t spend it on something I don’t really need, because there are so many others who need things.”
He is now looking for things for his new residence, in Veldhoven, where he will live in an assisted state. KidzBase may also be able to help with this. Previously at Toverland, it was also arranged by KidzBase.
Since KidzBase has been around for ten years, additional wishes will be fulfilled this year. Chris also made one. “I would like to have dinner at the Wok with the whole living group with the moderators. Let’s be together again before I get on my feet.”