Dutch Caribbean islands’ children the focus of new foundation in Holland

Ruth Groenewoud with MIss IQ Daisy ConradAMSTERDAM, The Netherlands–A new foundation in the Netherlands has taken the fate of children in the Dutch Caribbean to heart. “I was born in Curacao, left close to 30 years ago, but when I look at the situation on the island today I see too many social problems that end up leaving the children in the balance,” says Ruth Groenewoud, initiator and chairlady of the Miss IQ foundation. With plans to become a major force in The Netherlands that supports the civil society in the islands, her foundation will this year focus on raising funds for underprivileged children in Curacao. In addition the foundation will send the winner of its Miss IQ pageant that was held in October 2012, to Curacao to give a personal touch to its efforts.

“We chose the name Miss IQ because we believe that inner beauty is more important than the exterior; it’s about being socially involved, being determined, positive and putting ones talent to good use. Those are the cornerstones of our foundation. That is how we want to differ from all other organizations. We want to be involved in creating a better world for children, wherever in the world the need be,” says Groenewoud.

In 2013 the focus will be on school children in Curacao. “Of course I have a personal connection with the island I was born in, but actually what really drives us to turn out attention to Curacao is the knowledge that there are many children there who live in poverty because their families have to make do with just a few hundred euros per month; and that’s in a country in the Kingdom of the Netherlands. That is unacceptable,” she says.

The foundation has meanwhile started a fundraising drive, to support Foundation Shimaruku that provides meals to deprived children. “A good meal in the morning is important for children; they have more energy and are better able to concentrate on their school tasks,” says Groenewoud. She says that as her foundation accelerates, more local foundations that work with children on the island –and on other islands- will get assistance. “Children that get attention are safeguarded from crime. Our mission is to help children that live in social deprived communities. The reports about juvenile delinquency are worrisome, but it’s all connected to the conditions in which children have to grow up. There are so many that can have promising futures, but who still end wrong. What they’re lacking is a good base, proper education, sports activities and other after school activities.”

Groenewoud says the intention is for the Miss IQ foundation to become the main organization in the Heerhugowaard Commmunity in North Holland that organizes projects aimed at improving the living conditions of children in Curacao. “We have a couple of very highly placed contacts in this community who have already pledged their support to help us achieve our endeavors,” says the chairlady.

Miss IQ Daisy ConradShe also has high hopes that dispatching Daisy Conrad –Miss IQ 2012– to Curacao later this year, will go a long way to boost the foundation’s work. Daisy was selected from almost 15 contestants during the Miss IQ pageant in Amsterdam last October. “We will hold the pageant annually to find an exemplary young person who can represent our views as our ambassador, but also to make the youth in the Netherlands more aware of how well they got it here, and to give them an opportunity to be part of the solution we will endeavor to bring to some problems we see in other countries,” Groenewoud says.

When in Curacao, Conrad will visit projects that are being executed for the children on the island. “It will be a 10-day work-visit, for her to interact, to see what is being done, so that when she returns to The Netherlands she can relay her experiences and act as the ambassador of our foundation and of the children in Curacao. That is also designed to help us with our fundraising efforts,” says Groenewoud.

As the Chairlady with the big plans starts to wrap up this interview, she stresses that it is by no means her believe that her foundation will be able to save the world. “That is not our task. But we have noticed some disturbing trends that we want to do something about. We want every child to have the opportunities it deserves and we don’t want to have the feeling in a few years that we consciously missed an opportunity to help.”

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