More and more parents are asking for help in purchasing school supplies. This means kids can still go to school with their bike and laptop. But there are concerns: “We suspect we can’t reach a number of children and their parents,” says Caroline Gerritsen. She is the president of the Leergeld Foundation.
Parents who turn to this organization for help can, for example, get a bicycle for their child or a laptop. The institution also pays for music lessons, sports subscriptions, or sportswear. All this under the slogan: “All children can participate, because participation now will count later.” And this is where the shoe pinch, because by no means are there any children in the photo in the institution. “We know from CBS numbers that there are 1,100 children in Worden living below the poverty line,” says Ton Quakrnat, the foundation’s secretary. “We are now helping 270 children. It may of course be that other families are getting help thanks to other arrangements, for example through Ferm Werk.” But there is a big gap between 1100 and 270.
No more than 120 percent of the level of social assistance
Leergeld has 112 departments across the Netherlands. Gerritsen is the head of the department supporting children in the municipalities of Woerden, Bodegraven-Reeuwijk, Oudewater and Montfoort. Parents who do not earn more than 120 percent of the level of social assistance can go there to get school supplies that schools do not provide. “There is talk in The Hague of having schools provide all educational materials, including laptops.”
Previously people were given one laptop per family and siblings had to share the device, luckily this is no longer necessary
There is also a pot for sports and hobbies: the youth fund can help parents with a narrow wallet, and tips for parents Van No.
We’re not quite there yet, so laptop distribution is the organization’s biggest cost: 83 have already been abandoned this year. “We don’t give away money,” Quackcarnat asserts. “We pay for services or goods. Previously, people were given one laptop per family and siblings had to share the device, which is no longer necessary. During the Corona period, it was discovered that it was a good idea for everyone to have their own laptop Its for online education. We got money for it from the government.”
This calendar year, 199 bicycles were distributed to children aged 4-18 in the four municipalities. They get bikes and laptops on loan. In 2021, 372 children were supported in one way or another by volunteers from the Leergeld Foundation, and this year this number has increased to 434. Last year, we spent 64,000 euros. “We have already reached this stage and now there are still four months left,” the minister says.
It is very important that you can participate, you can practice with your peers
Cut the contribution in half
There are no financial concerns, while more requests for assistance are expected. The Foundation receives funds from the four municipalities and service clubs through donations. We are frugal and ensure we can always go on for another year. We wish we could get more kids into the picture,” Quakrnat says. “Also because of the social aspect,” adds Gerritsen., It is very important that you can participate and exercise with your peers. Fortunately, there are also associations in Woerden that cut in half or Until this group’s contribution is deleted.”
But it is still difficult to help. Not everyone knows how to get to the right foundation in the quagmire of bases. Kwakkernaat: Even professionals don’t know all the rules. The GDPR law also holds us back a lot. It’s good to have data protected, but rules can also be a barrier to addressing people. We can help more children. Children should not be the victims.”
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