The House of Hope is a neighbourhood organization with three walk-in centres in Rotterdam South, in the districts of Tarwewijk, Katendrecht and Beverwaard.
In these neighbourhoods, a large number of residents live in poverty and loneliness. Many residents struggle with unemployment, debts and an uncertain housing situation.
Also in these neighbourhoods with large numbers of children, there are many broken relationships and one-parent families. House of Hope was launched in 2004 by the International Christian Fellowship community in Rotterdam. The organization has since grown into a community of 350 volunteers and 16 paid employees. House of Hope provides social, diaconal and pastoral work for the full breadth of society, regardless of age, race, culture, religion or situation.
In the neighbourhoods where we are active, we want to serve people by facilitating their access to care and activities that bring them together. We focus primarily on groups that are difficult to reach and those who are at risk of of falling between two stools due to complex circumstances.
Every day, residents can come to our walk-in living room for a cup of coffee and a listening ear. We also visit people at home. We see people and their talents and encourage them to participate as volunteers and become part of the "family". In this way we take care of ...
More life in the neighbourhood!
The Criminal Minded foundation supports socially disadvantaged young people, who can use help with their personal development in the broadest sense of the word. The program aims to help young people understand what’s most important for them in life. Music is one way to get started, also by inviting inspiring role models. Then young people get to work themselves, to depict their goals and ambitions and build their skills. A booklet that young people receive contains various assignments for this.
During eight sessions there are three inspirational lectures. We work with a Dream board, rap lyrics, beats, photography and making a video. Skills that are practiced include: writing a job application, networking on social media (LinkedIn), planning, presenting, exploring and discussing, or preparing a dance workshop. Young people talk about emotions and discuss personal branding. Portrait photos are taken, and participants prepare an electronic press kit and a CV. After sharing a meal and handing out the booklets, the workshop leader invites a student to start beatboxing, the leader starts rapping and everyone laughs and gets moving. The workshops have a fixed structure: arrive, eat, meet each other, catch up on news or experiences and then work on assignments. All participants have a booklet in which they can find the assignments for the eight weeks. A characteristic of the sessions is the relaxed start with Surinamese food. A meeting place and creative incubator for like-minded people who benefit from all their diversity. A place where participants can think, experiment and explore freely in a safe environment.*
* Source: participatory research Professorship Participation and Urban Development at the Hogeschool Utrecht (HU University of Applied Sciences)
The pleasure of hanging out together.
Network DAK includes 150 walk-in homes, neighborhood chaplaincies and street chaplaincies in the Netherlands and Belgium. These include large organizations that offer assistance, such as the Pauluskerk in Rotterdam and Stem de Stad in Haarlem, but also smaller walk-in centers where volunteers offer a listening ear, such as the Parasol in Ermelo or Wording in Hilversum. Local churches support walk-in centers with volunteers, administrators, donations and by drawing attention to this work. Everyone is welcome in walk-in centers, especially people who might be excluded elsewhere: homeless people, refugees, people with mental health issues, lonely locals from the neighborhood, single mothers. There’s always something going on. Visitors help as much as possible, because reciprocity is enriching. The relationship between volunteers and visitors is central: the pleasure and richness of spending time together. Street pastors and neighborhood pastors go to the people. They offer help that is appropriate and stand by people, even when there’s little prospect of improvement in their situation.
Network DAK connects, strengthens and represents. Meetings inform street pastors, neighborhood pastors and walk-in houses about new projects. Network DAK advises on volunteer policy, income and local cooperation. Network DAK encourages vulnerable volunteers to participate, so that they can show their talents. Network DAK works to ensure that vulnerable people make their voices heard among policymakers.
By bringing together walk-in centers, neighborhood chaplaincy, and street chaplaincy, Network DAK is committed to a society in which every person counts and where everyone's qualities are valued, including those who are undervalued in society.
We can do this together, that’s what we believe at the Debt Relief Buddy Association in the Netherlands. Especially when you’re in debt, you need someone who believes in you and helps you. Someone who’s there for you and who helps you get your finances in order without judgement. Our Buddies do that.
In the Netherlands, 1 in 5 households face debt. People are often ashamed and only seek help when it’s too late. SchuldHulpMaatje is committed to reaching and helping people with financial problems as early as possible. Guiding behavioral change and developing financial self-reliance is central to this. The aim is to reduce the growing debt problem.
Danny was a successful artist. He lost his income when he could no longer perform and got heavily into debt. "I lived all over the place for years. I didn’t dare register with the local authority, I didn’t trust anyone anymore." Now Danny has a permanent home again. "I came to SchuldHulpMaatje through social services. And then I met Bertine. She helps me sort out what I must do, and she encourages me. She lets me do everything myself, and actually I can do that quite well. "I’ve regained my discipline. That gives me peace of mind. I’m not there yet, but I remain positive. I want to prove that I can do it."
SchuldHulpMaatje is an initiative of the churches in the Netherlands. Charity is our foundation and the gospel is our inspiration. Anyone who needs help with financial problems can count on the support of our SchuldHulpMaatjes. Regardless of religion, race, sexuality or ethnicity.
Whatever your opinions, drug-use is a fact. People use drugs for many reasons, often unfortunate, even tragic. The risks, particularly of hard drug-use, are known. Recovery is difficult. Drugs, often sought as liberation, rob users of their freedom. Yet they continue to lure people, and problems arise for users and for those around them.
Opinions differ about what's best for drug users, measures against nuisance, tackling drug trafficking. But we agree on one thing:
Whoever is in need must get help.
God loves every person, whoever or whatever they are.
That is the fundamental principle of the Drugs Pastoraat Amsterdam. Accepting people as they are, and valuing human dignity unconditionally. Helping people find meaning in life, and celebrating their bond with God and humanity.
The Drugs Pastoraat Amsterdam assists drug users impartially, helping them get support in their daily care, as far as they want or need it. Drugs Pastorate Amsterdam points the way to assistance, mediating where possible with authorities and government institutions.
The Protestant Diaconia Amsterdam has been committed to a just and merciful society for centuries. From compassion and openness, they support homeless people, refugees, people who are lonely or who live in poverty. The Diaconia does this together with Amsterdammers who look after each other and show people that they are not alone!
Stichting Gezinsbuddy (Family Buddy Foundation) supports vulnerable families, specifically single-parent families lacking a social network, who are experiencing temporary problems. A family buddy is a voluntary counselor who tackles the situation together with the family. The goal is to reduce stress and give the family the feeling that they are not alone.
The foundation was set up in 2018 and works in the municipality of Ronde Venen. Twenty-five families have registered so far, and thirty-five volunteers have indicated that they want to help these families. The foundation is in contact with other municipalities, with a view to expanding the project.
What does a family buddy do in practice? This varies, as families experience different sources of stress, often related to finances, housing or children. Support can include having coffee and listening, going to court with a family member, doing grocery shopping, calling the municipality about various procedures, cooking a meal, or installing a heater.
We see families becoming more self-reliant and less stressed as a result of this temporary intervention. The role of a family buddy can develop into a friendship.
SKIN Rotterdam brings together and supports an estimated 200 Christian international communities in Rotterdam and the surrounding area, helping them to become a powerful and positive voice in society.
In 2019 our activities reached up to 850 people from 120 Christian international communities, with a combined collective reach of 20.000 people. Stichting Rotterdam is involved in these SKIN-Rotterdam projects:
Krachtig Verbonden (Powerfully Connected)
In this project, we want to strengthen Christian international communities by supporting and equipping pastors and potential leaders, and connecting the communities with each other and their environment.
We do this through:
- Clear and accessible online information, news and social media.
- Training programs, for example on financial and church management.
- Meetings about current topics relevant to society.
- Focus groups where community leaders can share knowledge, for example, on ethical leadership
- Individual advice and guidance for communities, on subjects such as church buildings, noise issues, work, language, debt, health etc.
- Networking between Christian international communities, and with churches and groups in the local community
- Training on political and civic topics, for example, an election debate or excursions.
Education & Development
Parents and young people from Christian international communities have different norms and values, which can create gaps between generations and cultures. Key community figures receive training and peer review on the parenting issues they see among the people in their community.
In addition, there are expert meetings and open workshops on parenting issues.
Topics include family relationships and authority, social skills, sexuality and lifestyle, safety, money management, responsibility, pressure and performance among young people, self-confidence, and the community and the individual. Activities are also aimed at the development of young people.
SKIN-Rotterdam also works with partners in informal language education, refugee work and social service. Christian international communities also participate in Samen010’s Serve the City and ‘Sint voor Kint’ campaigns.
Samen 010 is an organisation of churches and volunteers committed to working together for the city. We are active in projects relating to care, poverty and social isolation. The poor and socially isolated are the most vulnerable members of society. We believe that effective deployment of volunteers is an important addition to professional care. We create a livable society by being there for those who need it most.
HiP Rotterdam and HiP Capelle
HiP offers practical help to people who do not have a social network and do not have the financial means to buy help. Volunteers from different churches in Rotterdam and Capelle aan den IJssel are ready to help these people. HiP brings clients and helpers together.
Kerkplein is committed to a society where people with mental disabilities are not marginalized, but treated as integral members. Kerkplein arranges various activities including: excursions, celebrations, games, crafts and theater.
Together with the church, Kerkplein looks for opportinities to help.
Serve the City Rotterdam
Serve the City Rotterdam encourages people from Rotterdam to look after each other, by organising two events each year:
- The Ascension Action by Serve the City is an annual diaconal action on Ascension Day in various areas of Rotterdam. The purpose is to connect Christians or churches with each other to work together for their environment; serve the neighborhood and meet local residents, which strengthens the network that churches have with each other and the neighborhood.
- For the annual benefit for 'Sint voor Kint', we invite churches and other groups to sponsor campaigns . We also raise money from funds and companies. From the proceeds, we give parents with a low income a voucher from the toy store, so that they themselves can buy a Sinterklaas gift for their children.
Wim didn't use to understand the homeless: “I thought it was their own fault. I now look at it differently. Sometimes you can't do anything about it. It's bad luck and a combination of circumstances. Try not to judge people. You don't know their story. It's helped that people have shown concern for me ".
Wim (58) is neither addicted nor confused. Yet, after his marriage broke down, he lived for six months on the street: “I could never have imagined that I would become homeless. I can hardly believe I experienced this.” Because he wasn't addicted and wasn't a psychiatric patient, he didn't qualify for help or night care. That was hard.
Eventually he came to Stem in de Stad: “The street pastor looked out for me and so I got a place in the Salvation Army night care for a month. I used those thirty days to arrange everything: provide postal address, apply for social benefits, search for a room. It worked. I now have a roof over my head again."
The walk-in centre is the beating heart of Stem in de Stad. Eleven shifts a day, 7 days a week, Stem in de Stad is open and offers a total of 65 volunteers a cup of coffee, a listening ear and cordiality. It's about meeting our fellow citizens, who are lonely, far from their country or family, homeless or semi-homeless, or who have problems. Social isolation occurs at all ages, and at all levels in society. Stem in de Stad is about real human contact between people: inclusion rather than aloofness or exclusivity. Services include social and medical consultation hours, debt-counseling, courses for refugees and a womens' cafe. And three times a week there's a hot meal for those who need it. Stem in de Stad has been run by nore than 250 volunteers, for more than 30 years.