How are the Classen kids now?

For the main characters from the acclaimed TV documentary Layers It’s been four years since the camera crew began following their lives closely for a year. The series, which made the struggles surrounding unequal opportunities in education tangible through the eyes of students, teachers and administrators in Amsterdam-Noord, has been a huge success.

About 5 million viewers sympathized with Gianni, the boy who saw the prison of youth from the inside at the age of 13, and with Mr. Thijs, who did his best to get him on the right track. We saw quiet Esma (11) who has fallen victim to years of substandard education at her school, ambitious Vera (12) who wanted to be better than her parents and enroll in a benefits class. Yunus (15) had to learn to work again in the education system after five years of sitting at home, Effie (15) struggled with the huge demands she placed on herself in school, while Tama (15) especially the high demands of her mother Like the same hot. She felt her neck – she herself prefers to dance all day.

How will all these children be now? Norwegian Refugee Council Talk to three of the series’ many heroes: Anyssa, Viggo, and Yunuscan.

Anisa (14):
That period was a low point in my life.

“I’m doing really well,” Anisa says from a seat in the lecture hall at Overway College. She is now fourteen years old, but in her speaking and thinking she already looks like a young woman.

Anisa, who was 11 years old at the time, formed in Layers A duet with her grandfather. Together they drank milkshakes in his little red car, or they drove on his scooter, sandwiched between Grandpa and the steering wheel. And just chat all the way from home to school and from school to home. Because this is where Anisa lived, with her grandfather and grandmother in Amsterdam – the North. She and her grandfather belonged together “like jute and joule,” the voice above her ably summed up. “Of all the people on earth, she loves him the most.”

But Anisa’s story was also the story of a food and clothing bank, at times about not bringing food to school, of an eighth-grader who had to take care of her sick grandfather. The viewer saw a girl who always smiles, but lives in uncertainty at home: did she stay with her grandparents in the North, or return to her mother in the West?

In the middle of the eighth grade, Anisa could no longer finish one piece, and saw Miss Yolanda, who was also Anisa’s guardian angel. You just failed. Her high school advice was to back off. According to Miss Yolanda, “It was a lot in Anisa’s head,” while she had a lot to offer. Her teacher fears: “If this also happens next year, she will not attend first year.” The further that important final school year progresses, the more difficult Anisa will be. Her grandfather died, and her grandmother kicked her out of the house. Sooner or later everything will be fine, she said with that smile again, standing in the street among her things.

Anisa with her grandfatherExcerpts from the TV series Layers in the year 2020.

Three years later, Anisa looks back at that time with mixed feelings. Fortunately, she is fine now. Since she returned to live with her mother three years ago, her life has moved into calmer waters. Finally it’s time to rest and start a new school.

She is in her third high school and is working hard. You still want to become an elementary teacher, just like in the series. So for Babu, and if something crazy doesn’t happen, you’ll get it with flying colors. Anisa dances hip-hop and reads about a book a month in English. „I’ve been speaking fluent English since I was 10 years old, don’t you know that?‘ she says in an elegant tone. „My Scottish aunt taught me.Anyssa is a language, and French is her favorite subject. She often gets bored of the English language, although in the last week she learned a word that can be useful: bridge wallAn arched bridge over a moat.

Anisa is happy that she is not in the spotlight as much as she was when the series aired. Then people often stared at her on the street and on the tram. She did not imagine in advance that her whole private life would suddenly be on the street and that the series would be watched even in America. “I knew nothing about all these people, and they knew everything about me.” But looking back, Anisa’s life in real life was a lot less rosy than it sometimes seemed on the series.

“I can no longer sympathize with that little girl since then,” she says. “That period was a low point in my life. It was actually pathetic, but I couldn’t see it for myself.” Indeed, caring for Anyssa was difficult. “I used to wake up every morning afraid of my grandfather’s death.” She was often at odds with her grandmother. And when the series was shown, about a year after its last filming, Anisa once again faced that difficult period, with the image of her grandfather that she missed so much. “I wasn’t expecting the end result to have such an effect on me. But now that I’m three years older I can watch the series with a different eye. Now I think, yeah, it was. Now it’s different.”

She still corresponds regularly with Miss Jolanda.

Vigo (14):
My wish for VWO was amplified a bit on TV

Figo, now 14, was in Layers, frankly, a symbol for smart kids of highly educated parents, for schools where light blond class portraits and pre-university education recommendation are more the rule than the exception. Viggo’s story was a story of high expectations about citoscores and high school advice.

At least, looking back, that’s what he and his parents said, “They exaggerated him so much.” The viewer saw 11-year-old Figo and his classmates in groups cheering and chanting. “What advice do you have? vwo? Nice guy! Me too!”

The other side of this also became apparent: a group of friends on a rainy day in the hideout of the soccer field. Havo-vwo’s advice is good too, his friends tried to reassure Viggo. He doesn’t seem convinced of himself. The highest that can be achieved, has always been the best, right? He wanted to be a pathologist, like his father, or an architect. Did he already waste his future at the age of eleven?

Three years later, this tension is not noticeable anymore. Viggo is a relaxed teenager who made it to the third grade of havo unscathed. When asked what he would like to be when he grows up, he now no longer had a direct answer, and he could still see it; And he seems to like this attitude.

Figo (center) with classmates in the series.

He’s sitting at the same kitchen table in the same bright living room in Dürgerdam where we put him Layers often seen. His mother is pouring tea and his father is wearing a tracksuit. It’s Sunday afternoon and the hockey games are already over. Figo, his two brothers and his father all play at the same club.

The tense eighth grader seems to have disappeared, or maybe he just existed in reality Layers. He can’t stay awake from a hockey game he hardly lost that morning. Only if he could move. Gym is his favorite subject in school, also all math and German can be done.

Viggo loves high school life. He seems to be sailing through it calmly: doing some homework and especially meeting a lot with friends. Every now and then he looks after his siblings or kids in the neighborhood, but he doesn’t have to fill up the big shelves yet. Viggo prefers a hockey game whistle for that money.

in Layers We’ve heard Viggo scream that he “doesn’t want to go to culture school”, but deep down he’s totally creative. Before he takes his VanMoof electric bike out of the shed to race to a babysitting title, he wants to play a little piano in the living room. The piano teacher visits every weekend. Viggo first practices for half an hour, then follows up with his brother and then the teacher for the neighbors. Previously, Viggo had classical piano lessons, which he did not like. But his current teacher is a singer-songwriter and he is now learning to play the strings. “I think that’s fat.”

vigo With his family.

Uniscan (14):
I became stronger mentally and physically

Whoever thinks of Uniscan will melt after two years Layers Still a little. Miss Agnes’ 11-year-old student was the apple of the series’ eye. For him, the eighth set will be a decisive year: can he maintain the upward trend he started unexpectedly in the seventh and be able to enter high school, or was his language deficit too great? No matter how hard he tried, coming from a Turkish family in which no Dutch spoke at the time, he was immediately 2-0 behind in school. At home, home work is often very busy, with all the uncles, aunts, nieces and nephews on the floor.

In an impressive scene Layers We saw Yunoscan polish his vocabulary online late at night. On the rare occasions when it was quiet at home, he would crawl behind the computer to do his homework. For example, when the whole family went to a Turkish wedding, or when they went to pray. ‘You only live once,’ he said then, and Miss Agnes’ stern words were still fresh in his mind. “So you have to do it now.”

Three years later, Yunskan is a little taller than heads, and his voice is less than an octave, but his drive to develop himself is still as strong as ever. He wears a flat gray hat inspired by his favorite series, meager masks. If it were up to him, there would soon be a shirt, suspenders, a squeak, and a long black coat. His mother nodded her approval, in the background his sister laughing at him.

Yunskan with his mother and teacher Speaking at school.

“I am getting stronger mentally and physically,” Yunoskan says while his mother serves a large-scale lunch. Refers to a scene in Layers A police officer and an ex-con come to school to train kids in resilience. There, Yunoskan broke down in tears in front of all his classmates when he said that he and his friends were sometimes harassed by the other boys. “That’s when I realized that I have to get stronger. Later in high school, there will be no one left to help me.” Yunoskan left his “bad” friends behind and left high school alone with his best friend. do abroad pull upsAt home he is working hard on his future.

Yunoscan had first grade for two years and is now in third grade from Mafu. His favorite subjects are gym and mathematics (“I have a Turkish teacher, he understands me”). He is determined on his future dream: to earn as much money as possible as quickly as possible, so that his mother can retire. She’s had a clothing repair shop in the Zaandam for a year and a half and she shines when she talks about it. Her Dutch has improved by leaps and bounds since she has been speaking to Dutch clients mostly all day long. But she works hard, six days a week, ten hours a day. “I sometimes think: If only I had been the eldest,” Yunskan says, as the younger brother of two sisters and the only man in the house. “Then I will be better in life” – he believes that it is sad for his mother to work hard.

Instead, his sister takes care of him. She will soon start training to become a BOA and has inspired Yunuscan to join the police as well. „But as a backup plan I want E-CommerceStart a business,” he says. “You don’t need any training for that. You can attend an online course for 2,000 euros.”

The series has done Uniskan well: The homework supervisor he saw on TV saw potential in the boy and offered to help. Since then, this “coach” has been visiting every Tuesday. He helps Yunoskan with his homework, prepares him for a life of maturity, and together they have “man’s talk”. „He makes me Ready For the next step into adulthood, Yunskan says, “like a big brother.”

Unuscan home, November 2022.”

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