“I don’t believe we can cure poverty.”
On Tuesday afternoon in Heerlen, our Social Impact Manager Lisa met the passionate Fadma van Leent, coordinator of Stichting Leergeld Parkstad. “In the first quarter of this year, we helped 2327 children and received no less than 6769 requests for support.” In recent months, the number of families requesting support has risen sharply. “The high energy bill and rising prices mean that more and more families are getting into financial problems. We not only help families living on welfare, but also families where one parent works.”
Under the direction of a board, Fadma sails and sails with 2 employees and a club of 25 volunteersStichting Leergeld Parkstad (this includes 7 municipalities: Beekdaelen, Brunssum, Heerlen, Kerkrade, Landgraaf, Simpelveld and Voerendaal). “Very proud and grateful that there are still people who sign up with us to do volunteer work. We can use them in the office, as intermediaries, but also as board members.” Leergeld helps children from 4 to 18 years old with bicycles, birthday presents, sports lessons, Squla and WRTS. This way they ensure that all children can participate. When a new family submits an application for support, an intermediary makes a home visit. The intermediary then maps out the wishes and needs of the family. They also refer to other facilities such as the Food Bank and Clothing Bank. After the home visit, the application is assessed by the practitioner and an income test is carried out. Leergeld tries to offer customization where possible.
Leergeld has been offering Parkstad for a number of years Squla on and since this year too WRTS. Leergeld buys the products from us at cost price and then passes them on free of charge to the families who apply for them. Squla gives the children fun in learning and extra support for all subjects, WRTS offers a nice alternative to tutoring. Both are welcome in families where the parents can’t always help with schoolwork.
“There are people who really need us, but don’t ask for help out of shame ,” says Fadma. Where previously payment had to be made with checks, the school stuff card has recently been developed. This is a card with money on it. This allows parents to pay directly, for example for school supplies at Hema and Bristol. This makes its use more practical, more anonymous and moreover much more efficient for Leergeld Parkstad.
We briefly look at the future: “ Learning money has a policy plan and every year we review what we will prioritize. I don’t believe we can cure poverty, but I do believe we can do our utmost to help as many children as possible.” The requests are manually reviewed and approved or rejected. While the main goal is to help all children, it is also important to Fadma that the people who do it have fun at Leergeld. There is a paradox here: more applications also mean more work pressure. Fadma does believe in plans for the future, but also emphasizes that today is just as important, especially now that the application pressure is high. “That is where our focus is now, to solve that and to support as many children as possible.”
Leergeld Parkstad works closely with the Nationaal Fonds Kinderhulp, Jarige Job and the Jeugdfonds Sport en Cultuur. Thanks to them, they can support children in four areas: Education, Welfare, Sport and Culture. Do you want to contribute something to Stichting Leergeld Parkstad? Take a look here to see what you can do, or send an email to email@example.com.